Excess water in Villa Park Dam to be released into reserve basin in Orange County

ORANGE, Calif. (KABC) -- For the first time in a long time, the ABC7 Drone captured a large reservoir of water behind the Villa Park Dam, but now the water must be moved out.

The process begins Aug. 7 and only in the overnight hours. Public works will release about 800-acre feet of water. One-acre foot is about 326,000 gallons, which is enough to put an entire football field under 1 foot of water.

The drought has kept officials from having to release this much water in the past, but this season's rains made it necessary to perform annual maintenance on the dam.

The release into the Santiago Creek, ultimately to a reserve basin, may come with some smelly side effects. When public works did the same thing in May, several neighbors reported a strong sulfur-like smell.

Shannon Widor, with Orange County Public Works, said it likely comes from decomposing leaves and brush, but they're taking precautions to keep people safe.

"Taking air quality samples and we'll have about five or six stations or monitors around the Santiago Creek area to test air quality. Also, we'll be monitoring from the nearby residential community because we want to make sure even the overall area has safe air quality," he said.

Public works said they expect the entire water release process to last about one to two weeks.
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