Dam Safety & Security

Safety evaluation begins at Huntington North Dam

An evaluation of Huntington North Dam is under way as part of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Safety of Dams Program.

Huntington North Dam is an earthfill structure in the Green River Basin in Utah. It has a foundation consisting of clay, silt, sand and gravel. Samples of the foundation materials are being taken to determine their potential for liquefaction during an earthquake.

The field investigation is expected to continue through the spring and will be used to decide if seismic retrofit corrective work is required. The dam is part of the Emery County Project and was identified last spring as one having the potential for future hydro production.

IBWC awards emergency contract to Corps for work at Amistad Dam

The U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission has awarded a $227,430 contract to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for emergency repairs at Amistad Dam.

IBWC announced its intent to seek bids for the work at 132-MW Amistad in July 2011, although an “unusual and compelling urgency” led the commission to forego its usual solicitation process.

According to the contract, the Corps will be responsible for repairing the facility’s Penstock No. 4, which is damaged and jammed. The contract says an “uncontrollable flow of approximately 60 cubic meters per second of water is escaping.”

Inspectors questioned the safety of Amistad Dam in 2007 after inspections and analysis indicated the naturally occurring sinkholes that have existed since the dam was completed in 1969 could affect stability.

CDA names new board members, presents awards

The Canadian Dam Association (CDA) named new officers and directors and presented several awards at its annual conference, held in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, in October 2011.

New officers and directors

Effective Sept. 30, 2011, Joe Farwell, P.Eng., of Grand River Conservation Authority resigned as president. Vice President Clare Raska of BC Hydro is now acting president, to serve the remainder of the term until September 2012. The board elected Gilles Bourgeois of GENIVAR to be vice president for the same period. Simon Cullum-Kenyon of TransAlta is secretary-treasurer. And Sayed Ismail, consultant, is past president.

Five new members of the board of directors are: Santiago Paz of Alberta Environment; Gordon Schellenberg of Hatch; Anthony Rattue of SNC-Lavalin Inc.; Jason Berkers of AANDC; and Allan Kirkham of Ontario Power Generation.

Other members continuing on the board of directors include:

– Wayne Carlson of Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada;
– Simon Douglas of Klohn Crippen Berger;
– Bryon Keene of Quinte Conservation Authority;
– Ellis O’Neil of Nova Scotia Power Inc.;
– Andy Small of AMEC Earth & Environmental;
– Jean-Pierre Tournier of Hydro-Quebec; and
– Robert Woolgar of Hatch;

Members retiring from the board are: Farwell; Karen Wog of AMEC, Edmonton Geotechnical; Caius Priscu of AMEC Earth & Environmental; Greg Haist of Northwest Territories Power Corp.; and Wayne Phillips, former executive director.

Award winners

CDA presented awards in five categories.

– The Peter Halliday award, for outstanding service to CDA, went to former secretary-treasurer Bill Duncan and CDA webmaster Alan Boom. Duncan served five years as Saskatchewan director and then three years as CDA secretary-treasurer, overseeing major improvements to the association’s accounting and investment practices. Boom started the CDA website in 1992 and has continued to manage the website and provide database administration, even after his retirement from BC Environment.

– Maryam Kalantarnia received the Gary Salmon Memorial Scholarship. Kalantarnia is a PhD candidate at McGill University, studying reliability engineering and risk assessments dealing specifically with the reliability of spillway gates. This scholarship is given to full-time post-graduate students attending a Canadian university or college whose program of study focuses on dam safety and/or management.

– The Student Achievement Award was given to Sean Hyman of the University of New Brunswick. The PhD candidate’s research deals with the optimization of mixes for the new concrete structures that minimize/mitigate the impacts of alkali-aggregate reactivity at the Mactaquac Generating Station. This award recognizes contributions students have made to the dam industry.

– The Published Paper Award went to the CDA/ACB Committee on Regulation of Dams in Canada for “Regulation of Dams and Tailings Dams in Canada.” The award is offered to authors who prepare and publish an outstanding article or technical paper on dam-related issues in Canada.

– CDA also presented Meritorious Achievement Awards, which recognize CDA corporate members whose overall contributions merit recognition. Ontario Power Generation received an award in the innovation and leadership category for its work in the field of public safety. BC Hydro received the award for advancing the state of practice in dam safety, in recognition of its leadership in developing and implementing a dam safety program for a portfolio of high-hazard dams. And Hydro-Quebec received an award for promotion of Canadian practice in the scope of an international project of benefit to others.

GEI to work on Center Hill, Wolf Creek dam repairs

GEI Consultants Inc. was recently awarded a contract for dam safety work in Tennessee, Kentucky and Hawaii.

Bauer Foundation Corp. selected GEI to provide engineering and quality control services for the 135-MW Center Hill Dam barrier wall construction project in DeKalb County, Tenn. Bauer received the notice to proceed on this $106 million rehabilitation project in December 2011 from the Nashville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The 250-foot-tall dam consists of a 1,392-foot-long concrete section and 778-foot-long earth embankment with a history of seepage problems that have worsened in recent years. Bauer is to construct a 900-foot-long concrete seepage barrier with a minimum 2-foot thickness, extending from elevation 696 mean sea level to 405 msl.

Center Hill is among six dams the Corps identified as having a high risk of failure, in a screening program of 130 dams.

GEI is also serving as the technical lead and quality control representative for The Judy Company on the Wolf Creek Dam gallery and plaza grouting project in Russell County, Ky. The focus of the project is to install a grout curtain in the gallery and plaza areas of the dam to cut off seepage mechanisms.

The Judy Company received the contract for this work in January 2011. The Corps identified the earthfill and concrete gravity dam as being critically near failure or having extremely high life or economic risk.

GEI was also hired to perform dam inspections and provide dam safety engineering services for a number of projects in Hawaii for the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Phase 1 of the project was to identify dams that may pose safety hazards and provide dam owners and operators with the information to make improvements and respond to emergencies.

Phase 2 is focused on addressing dam safety deficiencies, including hydrologic and hydraulic analyses, stability analysis, seepage studies, and seismic analysis.

As part of a maintenance and remediation improvement project, GEI is evaluating the existing condition of five state-owned dams in Kauai. GEI is also assisting DLNR by performing independent design review of applications for dam construction, alteration and repairs. The firm is providing construction management services as the resident project representative on behalf of the state.

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