Dam Safety & Security

Kiewit begins construction on Folsom Dam auxiliary spillway

Kiewit Pacific Co., Concord, Calif., is beginning construction of an auxiliary spillway at the 198.72-MW Folsom Dam and Reservoir, 20 miles northeast of Sacramento, Calif. The work is being done under a $16 million phase 1 construction contract from the Bureau of Reclamation.

Reclamation says the new spillway is needed to increase flood control protection for the city of Sacramento and to improve dam safety.

Under phase 1 construction, to be completed by 2009, Kiewit is excavating the spillway, constructing a roadway, and modifying two wing dams. Contracts for phases 2 and 3 are pending.

The overall project, planned for completion by 2015, consists of constructing an approach channel, a control structure with six submerged tainter gates, a concrete-lined spillway chute about 3,000 feet long, and a stilling basin to dissipate energy before water is discharged into the American River below the main dam.

Corps awards contract for Wolf Creek grouting job

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $50.9 million contract to Advanced Construction Techniques Ltd. of Kettleby, Ontario, Canada, to build a double grout curtain at 270-MW Wolf Creek Dam, near Jamestown, Ky.

Construction of the curtain is part of a $309 million effort to stop seepage at the 5,736-foot-long, 258-foot-tall, earthfill and concrete gravity dam. Both the Corps and an independent review panel concluded the dam could fail if the seepage problem is not corrected.

Advanced Construction Techniques is building a 4,250-foot-long double-line grout curtain on the upstream slope of the dam embankment and a work platform. Once the two curtains are in place, a cut-off wall (a concrete seepage barrier) will be built between the curtains. The Corps’ Nashville District said it plans to award a contract in May 2008 for construction of the cut-off wall.

Canadian association issues new dam safety guidelines

The Canadian Dam Association (CDA) announces availability of its revised Dam Safety Guidelines and nine new technical bulletins. CDA prepared the documents for use by dam owners, regulators, managers, and operators.

The 82-page Dam Safety Guidelines section presents principles applicable to all dams. It also features chapters on:

    – Dam safety management;
    – Operation, maintenance, and surveillance;
    – Emergency preparedness;
    – Dam safety review; and
    – Analysis and assessment.


The nine Technical Bulletins suggest methodologies and procedures for use by professionals conducting dam analyses and safety assessments.

The bulletins cover:

    – Inundation, consequences, and classification for dam safety;
    – Surveillance of dam facilities;
    – Flow control equipment for dam safety;
    – Public safety and security around dams;
    – Dam safety analysis and assessment; and
    – Hydrotechnical, geotechnical, and structural considerations for dam safety.


CDA first published dam safety guidelines in 1995. In 1999, CDA issued a revised version. The 2007 version includes extensive revisions and additions. CDA says it intends to review and update the guidelines and bulletins as needed.

– The guidelines and bulletins sections are available for C$120 (US$122) for CDA members, C$200 (US$204) for non-members. Visit the Internet: www.cda.ca.

U.S., California plan to strengthen San Luis Dam

The Bureau of Reclamation and California Department of Water Resources (DWR) plan to strengthen the 382-foot-tall San Luis Dam to reduce the risk of damage in the event of an earthquake.

The dam, also known as B.F. Sisk Dam, impounds the 2 million acre-foot San Luis Reservoir, the largest off-stream reservoir in the U.S. It provides water storage for Reclamation’s Central Valley Project and for DWR’s 424-MW William R. Gianelli pump-generating plant. The Gianelli plant lifts water with pump-turbines from a forebay into the reservoir. During the irrigation season, water is released through the pump-turbines to the forebay, generating electricity. Reclamation owns the dam; DWR operates it.

The 18,600-foot-long earth-filled gravity embankment dam is in a seismically active area and close to the Ortigalita Fault that underlies San Luis Reservoir. Analyses indicate a major earthquake could have “substantial consequences,” Reclamation said, though adding the possibility of dam failure is remote.

Reclamation awards $6.5 million for Idaho dam safety work

The Bureau of Reclamation awarded a $6,487,000 contract to Record Steel & Construction of Meridian, Idaho, to perform dam safety work involving an earthfill structure at Deer Flat Dams, part of the 51.7-MW Boise hydroelectric project in southwest Idaho.

Record Steel & Construction is modifying outlet works for Deer Flat Dams Upper Embankment, built by Reclamation in the early 1900s. Upper Embankment and three other structures form Lake Lowell, which stores up to 173,000 acre-feet of water and provides irrigation water to more than 50,000 acres.

The Boise Project Board of Control operates Deer Flat Dams.

Modifications to Upper Embankment are necessary to correct seepage identified in 2004, the government said. Congress approved a report for modifying the Upper Embankment, clearing the way for the award. Record Steel & Construction has until January 2009 to complete the work.

The work will center on removal and replacement of an outlet works conduit. Modifications also will include removal and replacement of a 20-foot-long downstream section of outlet works.

Canadian Dam Association names new board leadership

The Canadian Dam Association (CDA) elected four new directors to its board and reelected two directors during its annual meeting.

Karyn Wog of Alberta Environment replaces outgoing director John Morrison, also of Alberta Environment; Greg Snyder, manager, Atlantic Region, Acres-Water and Wind Power, replaces outgoing director Phillip Gilks of New Brunswick Power Corp.

Two other directors previously appointed to replace directors who retired were elected. They are Ron Gee of Yukon Energy Corp., who replaced Tony Polyck of the Yukon Department of Environment, and Gilles Bourgeois of GENIVAR, who replaced Daniel Lavalle.

Joe Farwell of Ontario’s Grand River Conservation Authority and Chris Gräpel of EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd. were elected to second terms on the board of directors.

Other directors continuing to serve on the board are:

    – Terry Armstrong of Manitoba Hydro;
    – Johanne Bibeau of Societe d’energie de la Baie James;
    – Bill Duncan of the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority;
    – Charles Holder of BC Hydro;
    – Perry Mitchelmore of Mitchelmore Engineering Co. Ltd.; and
    – E. Gerard Piercy of Newfoundland & Labrador Hydro.


Each province and territory is represented by one director. Additionally there are two director-at-large positions. Bibeau and Gräpel fill these positions.

CDA officers serving the second year of two-year terms are Tony Bennett of Ontario Power Generation, president, and Sayed Ismail, a hydromechanical consultant in New Brunswick, vice president. Mona Bechai of Mobec Engineering, Ontario, was elected to a second term as secretary/treasurer. Bob Barnes of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro is past president.

Barry Hurndall is the organization’s executive director.

Canadian Dam Association recognizes award winners

The Canadian Dam Association presented the Published Paper Award and the Peter Halliday Award for Service at the organization’s 2007 annual conference, held in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Marc Smith of Hydro-Québec, and Claude Marche and Benoit Robert, both of Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, won the Published Paper Award. The three authored “Interrelations between Failure Mechanisms.”

Recipients of the award are recognized for preparing and publishing an outstanding article or technical paper on dam-related issues in Canada.

CDA named two winners of the Peter Halliday Award for Service: William Jolley, Dam Safety Section Head at British Columbia’s Ministry of the Environment; and Tony Chislett, a civil engineer in Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro’s Engineering Services Division.

The Peter Halliday Award, presented annually, recognizes the efforts of members who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to CDA, and who have contributed to its advancement.

ASDSO calls for scholarship applications

The Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) invites undergraduate students to apply for scholarships totaling up to $10,000 to be awarded for the 2008-2009 school year.

Applications must be postmarked by March 29 and are to be submitted to ASDSO, 450 Old Vine St., Second Floor, Lexington, KY 40507. Successful candidates are to be announced in June, the dam safety organization said.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens enrolled full-time at the senior level during the 2008-2009 school year in an accredited civil engineering program, or in a related field. Applicants must demonstrate an interest in a career in hydraulics, hydrology, or geotechnical disciplines, or in another discipline related to the design, construction, and operation of dams. They must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 for the first three years of college, and must have a recommendation from their academic adviser.

Selection will be based on academic scholarship, financial need, work experience and activities, and an essay on ASDSO and the importance of dam safety, the organization said.

The application is available from ASDSO’s Internet site, www.damsafety. org, and by writing the organization.

USSD offers scholarships to graduate students

The U.S. Society on Dams (USSD) is accepting applications for its 2008 scholarship program. One $10,000 scholarship and two $1,000 scholarships will be given to graduate students enrolled in a dam-related program.

The deadline for applications is March 7.

Scholarship details and an application form are available on-line at www. ussdams.org/scholar.html.

Group seeks nominations for lifetime, project awards

Nominations also are being accepted from USSD members for the organization’s 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2008 Excellence in the Constructed Project Award.

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors individuals whose lifetime of dedication and achievement contributed significantly to the dam engineering profession.

The Excellence in the Constructed Project Award recognizes significant contributions made by an individual or team of professionals to the dam community and to society through the construction, remediation, or removal of a dam or water resources structure.

Detailed criteria and nomination information for both awards are on-line at www.ussdams.org/awards.html.

The deadline for making nominations is March 21.

Awards will be presented on April 30, during USSD’s 2008 annual meeting, in Portland, Ore.

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