VIDEO: Authorities stop releasing water at Oroville Dam

OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) – California water authorities have finished releasing water from the damaged spillway at the Oroville Dam.

Department of Water Resources spokeswoman Lauren Bisnett said water flow was stopped within the past hour. Workers started slowing the flow at 6:45 a.m. Monday.

The spillway will stay dry for up to a week so water workers can remove between 500,000 and 1 million cubic yards of debris blocking a power plant that was shut down amid high water levels.

A potential failure of an emergency spillway at the dam prompted authorities earlier this month to evacuate nearly 200,000 people.

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Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea says removing debris from the damaged spillway at the Oroville Dam will bring officials one step closer to restarting a power plant at the site.

That in turn will help remove water in advance of the spring runoff.

California water officials were slowing the release of water from the Oroville Dam Monday to allow the power plant to start up again after it was shut down amid high water levels. A potential failure of an emergency spillway at the dam prompted authorities earlier this month to evacuate nearly 200,000 people.

Honea says the emergency isn’t over yet, and he’s asking the public to be patient.

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California water authorities have started slowing the release of water from the Oroville Dam’s crippled spillway.

Department of Water Resources spokeswoman Lauren Bisnett said Monday that the slowdown started at 6:45 a.m. and will continue throughout the day.

She says the amount of water released will go from 50,000 cubic feet per second to zero.

The outflow from behind the 770-foot-tall dam will be stopped for several days to give workers time to clear debris from a pool at the bottom of the spillway.

The debris needs to be removed in order to restart the underground Hyatt Power Plant. The plant helps manage reservoir levels.

Potential failure of the dam’s emergency spillway earlier this month prompted authorities to evacuate nearly 200,000 people Feb. 12. They lifted the evacuation order Feb. 14.

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California water authorities will stop the outflow from the Oroville Dam’s crippled spillway on Monday to allow workers to remove debris that’s blocking a hydroelectric plant from working, officials said Sunday.

The outflow from behind the 770-foot-tall dam will be stopped for several days to allow workers to clear concrete and other debris from a pool at the bottom of the spillway.

Removing the debris will protect a shuttered underground plant, allowing it to resume operations, the Department of Water Resources said.

On Feb. 11, water managers used the emergency spillway for the first time in the dam’s history after a chunk of concrete tore out the main spillway.

But the water ripped through a road below, leading authorities to order a two-day evacuation of 188,000 people for fear the emergency spillway could fail.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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