The release of water from Villa Park Dam planned to start at 9 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 7 could cause a sulfur-like odor into the surrounding area, OC Public Works officials said.
Between 800 and 950 acre feet of water will be released through the dam Monday night through 4 a.m. Tuesday as part of regular flood control maintenance. For reference, one acre-foot of water is roughly 326,000 gallons – enough to cover a football field with a foot of water.
The water will flow from the dam and follow the Santiago Creek through Santiago Oaks Regional Park.
During the last water release in May, an unexpected “sulfur-like” odor was emitted as soon as water began to flow. The smell was bad enough that concerns raised by residents prompted OC Public Works to halt the release early.
Shannon Widor, strategic communications officer with county department, said the smell is believed to be caused by decomposing leaves and debris built up in the water held back by the dam. As a precaution, the air quality will be monitored during the release to make certain the smell isn’t anything dangerous.
“We hadn’t heard any complaints in the past, so this is new to us as well,” Widor said. “We don’t want to assume it’s from brush, debris, branches – that’s what we believe it to be, but we want to take the step to make sure we’re being safe.”
Widor said the release of water from the dam has been less frequent because of California’s years of drought, and OC Public Works theorizes the staggered releases have given debris time to build up, leading to the smell. After the heavy rains in the winter, the need for more frequent releases has returned – the agency estimates…
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