Dam Safety & Security

State Dam Security Panel reviews initiatives, issues

The newly formed State Dam Security Panel, or SDSP, reviews ongoing initiatives and discusses issues related to security and protection of state-regulated dams.

The panel is a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s critical infrastructure protection initiative. As part of that initiative, a dams sector-specific protection plan was developed to support a National Infrastructure Protection Plan. The national plan defines critical infrastructure protection roles for government, industry, and non-governmental organizations.

Dam safety officials from eight states sit on the new security panel, which held its initial meeting in November 2008. Panel members are: Keith Banachowski, Ohio; Dennis Dickey, Pennsylvania; Pat Diederich, Nebraska; David Gutierrez, California; Mark Haynes, Colorado; Doug Johnson, Washington; Steve McEvoy, North Carolina; and John Moyle, New Jersey.

The panel plans to meet quarterly, with additional meetings and conference calls as needed. Locations for quarterly meetings and an annual meeting are to be scheduled in conjunction with meetings of the Dams Sector Coordinating Council and Dams Government Coordinating Council. Homeland Security created those two councils, which worked with the department to prepare the dam protection plan.

Under the security panel’s leadership, the Association of State Dam Safety Officials says it plans to develop and conduct technical training meetings and workshops for state dam safety offices and state-regulated dam owners and operators.

Studies show Hungry Horse could withstand earthquake

Studies by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation indicate the 428-MW Hungry Horse Dam and dam foundation in Montana would withstand a large earthquake.

Reclamation said its analysis of the effects of seismic loading on the dam foundation concluded dam safety modifications are not needed. Government studies initiated in 2004 focused on the bedrock foundation and the dam abutments. Reclamation announced completion of the studies in September.

Information from on-site data collection at the dam and laboratory testing was used in computer models to calculate how seismic loads affected the structure. Independent experts in seismology, geology, foundation engineering, and structural engineering reviewed the studies at various stages, Reclamation said.

The studies were conducted as part of Reclamation’s agency-wide Safety of Dams Program, which is responsible for ensuring that none of the agency’s dams presents an unacceptable level of risk to the public, property, or the environment.

Reclamation noted it continually exercises emergency action plans for facilities for which it is responsible in 17 western states. Emergency action plans are discussed and updated with local participants about every three years.

Corps completes repairs to unstable Pennsylvania dam

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Pittsburgh District completed critical repairs to stabilize a navigation dam on the Allegheny River near Clinton, Pa.

The Corps initiated an emergency repair contract in November 2008 after divers conducting an inspection of Allegheny River Lock and Dam No. 6 discovered severe scour conditions. Brayman Construction Corp. placed concrete into a large void extending nearly 200 feet along the length of the dam.

Under a $2.97 million contract, Brayman crews first installed a steel wall along the toe of the dam to seal off the void. They then filled the void with 60 truckloads of concrete.

The Corps had declared the dam unstable, expressing concern that ice loads on the dam or large chunks of ice slamming into the dam could knock it off its foundation and into the river. Additionally, dam failure would have inflicted severe damage to the 8.56-MW Allegheny Lock & Dam No. 6 hydro plant, operated by Allegheny No. 6 Hydro Partners, an affiliate of Sithe Energies Inc.

During the repairs, Sithe Energies drew as much water as possible through the hydroelectric plant to reduce flows over the dam and to facilitate lower flow conditions for construction crews, the Corps said.

Allegheny River Lock and Dam No. 6 is one of eight navigation facilities on the Allegheny River. An inspection of the other seven facilities did not reveal such severe problems. However, the Corps said, Allegheny River Lock and Dam No. 5 shows similar, less severe erosion that will require some repair work.

Pittsburgh District officials said that age, fatigue, and the deteriorating condition of the region’s navigation system coupled with hundreds of millions of dollars of unfunded critical maintenance work on the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Upper Ohio rivers probably would result in additional unplanned repairs.

Dam safety group offers job matching service

The Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) offers a new service that matches employers with students who want to pursue careers in dam engineering and dam safety.

ASDSO said it launched the Student Employment Opportunities Clearinghouse in response to what it sees as a dwindling supply of college graduates qualified to enter the specialized fields of dam engineering and dam safety.

Employers who provide internships and other employment opportunities in dam engineering- and dam safety-related fields can post information at no charge in the Career Center on ASDSO’s Internet site, www.damsafety.org.

ADSSO offers a number of other opportunities for students, including annual scholarship awards up to $10,000, and a speakers’ bureau of dam safety experts who can make presentations to student groups. Complimentary registration is available for students who attend the organization’s regional and national conferences.

ASDSO, a non-profit organization headquartered in Lexington, Ky., is dedicated to improving dam safety through research, education, and communication.

Canadian Dam Association issues scholarship application notice

The Canadian Dam Association (CDA) is offering a $5,000 scholarship in memory of dam safety professional Gary Salmon. The scholarship is for a full-time post-graduate student attending a Canadian university or college whose program of study focuses on aspects related to dam safety or the management of dams.

The completed application package is due by April 30.

Applicants for the scholarship are required to submit a 500-word synopsis of their proposed research project and how it will improve current practice. Other requirements include: official course transcripts at the undergraduate and graduate level; a statement from the program chairman or director endorsing the application; and two letters of references, to be sent directly to the chairman of the Scholarship Selection Panel by the references or appropriate official of the university or college.

Reference letters should address the applicant’s commitment to excellence in their research as well as their contribution to the community.

Applicants will be notified of the decision of the Scholarship Committee in June, CDA said.

The scholarship is named for Salmon, who died in October 2007. Salmon’s career included 32 years at BC Hydro, where he retired as director of dam safety. Following retirement from the utility, Salmon worked as an international consultant on dam safety.

– Submit applications by April 30 to E-mail: awards@cda.ca; or to CDA, P.O. Box 4490, South Edmonton Station, Edmonton, Alberta T6E 4T7. More details are posted on the association’s website, www.cda.ca.

U.S. dam safety group seeks award nominations

The Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) is accepting applications for its Regional Awards of Merit program and National Rehabilitation Project of the Year. The deadline for applications is June 1.

The merit awards recognize ASDSO member individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to dam safety on a regional level.

The National Project of the Year Award is presented to the designer of a dam rehabilitation project that exemplifies state-of-the-art design and high engineering standards. Individuals or firms being nominated also must be ASDSO members, and projects must have been completed and fully operational by April 30.

ASDSO members are eligible to submit nominations and to receive awards. Nominations must be approved by the ASDSO representative of the state in which the dam is permitted. Award winners will be notified in August. Awards will be presented at ASDSO’s 2009 annual meeting, Sept. 27-Oct. 1 in Hollywood, Fla.

– Applications and details are available on the Internet at www.damsafety.org or contact ASDSO, 450 Old Vine St., Lexington, KY 40507; (1) 859-257-5140; E-mail: info@ damsafety.org.

Handbook available on crisis management at dams

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers the Dams Sector Crisis Management Handbook: A Guide for Owners and Operators. The handbook provides information about planning and response measures that might be used to prevent dam failures and to minimize consequences of damage or failure.

The 84-page handbook explains how such measures are an important component of an overall risk management program, describes major components of crisis management, and provides a template and guidelines that might be useful in developing these components for dams.

The handbook is divided into seven sections. These sections provide an overview of the dams sector; describe how crisis management is a component of an overall risk management program; detail the major components of a crisis management plan; and provide information about emergency actions plans (EAP), recovery plans, and continuity plans, as well as exercises designed to test those plans.

In addition, the handbook contains nine appendices. Information in these appendices includes a template for developing an EAP; content guidelines for recovery plans, continuity plans, and exercises; data on the types of incidents that could spur the development of an EAP, recovery plan, continuity plan, and exercises; and acronyms used in the handbook.

The handbook was developed by several agencies within the DHS, including the Dams Sector-Specific Agency, Dams Sector Coordinating Council, Dams Sector Government Coordinating Council, and Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council.

– The handbook can be downloaded from the Internet: www.damsafety.org/media/documents/security/damssector crisismanagementhandbook.pdf.

Briefly …

Homeland Security Corp., Newport Beach, Calif., and joint venture partner Fluor Global Services, Irving, Texas, completed a three-dam project. The companies worked on a contract worth more than $100,000 involving security systems for the dams, all in the Tennessee area. They did not name the dams, citing security restrictions.

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