Napa, CA — Lake Berryessa has finally reached a point where it is overflowing into the Berryessa glory hole, a drain that opens to a spillway that bypasses the Monticello Dam. Local and state officials are growing concerned after watching the tragedy unfold at the Lake Oroville dam last year, where erosion has created a possible spillway breach, potentially causing a dam failure. Officials are worried that the glory hole cannot handle the high level of fluid being thrust into it day in and day out.
The dam superintendent Tom Sallee spoke to Gish Gallop about the sloppy condition of the glory hole.
“The glory hole has been taking gallon after gallon of liquid from the constant deposits from the Lake. So far the spillway is handling the load,” said Sallee. “We are monitoring the gloryhole with a camera, keeping tabs on the amount of liquid it is taking. Some of the heavier flows have really splattered the spillway.”
Despite warnings, citizens continue showing up to the glory hole. They are braving the dangers that the glory hole presents just to feel its allure. Just last week a man was sucked into the glory hole and was found completely drenched and clinging hard for his life within the spewing spillway.
On average, the glory hole sees 100,000 visitors per year, though that number has gone up during this wet season as the visitors love seeing the liquid splatter on the spillway.
Fortunately for residents of Napa County, the glory hole is large enough to accommodate all of the deposits from the lake. That was good planning by the dam builders as they must have felt how popular the glory hole would be during the wet season.
“Citizens can rest assured,” said Sallee. “The glory hole and spillway will be operational for years to come.”