OROVILLE, Calif. (CBS13/AP) – Officials say water has begun flowing over the emergency spillway at Lake Oroville in Northern California for the first since 1968.

A spokesman for California’s Department of Water Resources says water began flowing over the emergency spillway around 8 a.m. Saturday.

Officials had been hoping to avoid using the emergency spillway because it could cause trees to fall and leave debris in water that flows through the Feather River, into the Sacramento River and on to the San Francisco Bay.  Butte County officials are warning the public that the feather river will run brown due to the dirt and debris from the emergency spillway.

Earlier this week, chunks of concrete flew off the nearly mile-long spillway, creating a 200-foot-long, 30-foot-deep hole. Engineers don’t know what caused the cave-in that is expected to keep growing until it reaches bedrock.

Officials say Oroville Dam itself is sound and there is no imminent threat to the public.

 

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

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