Dam Safety & Security

ASDSO forms subcommittee to study outlet works seepage

The Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) has formed an Outlet Works Technology Standing Committee to study seepage along outlet works conduits.

Outlet works features are aging and may soon reach or already have reached the end of their service life. Because repair and renovation techniques for outlet works are continuously evolving, a need exists to promptly and efficiently disseminate information to the dam safety community concerning these structures.

The subcommittee has four goals:

— Provide a consensus position on new technology, methods, and materials related to outlet works;

— Seek collaborative opportunities with federal and state agencies, private companies, academia, industry, and other interested organizations;

— Collect and monitor new information in preparation for an eventual update to Federal Emergency Management Agency dam safety manuals (such as FEMA 484 Technical Manual: Conduits through Embankment Dams); and

— Keep ASDSO members apprised of critical issues related to outlet works failure modes, conduit materials, selection criteria, construction methods, gates, valves, controls, energy dissipators, rehabilitation of conduits, inspection, and research/development.

To participate in this subcommittee, contact Chuck Cooper, (1) 303-445-3262; E-mail: ccooper@usbr.gov.

USSD names new officers; presents awards, scholarships

Officers for the U.S. Society on Dams (USSD) for 2010-2011 are: Daniel J. Hertel, Barnard Construction Co., Bozeman, Mont., president; Michael F. Rogers, MWH, San Diego, Calif., vice president; and Walter L. Davis, Seattle City Light, Seattle, secretary-treasurer.

Officers were announced at USSD’s 2010 annual meeting and conference in Sacramento. During the meeting, USSD presented multiple awards:

— Lifetime Achievement Award to Arthur H. Walz Jr. with Gannett Fleming Inc. Over Walz’s 45-year career in dam engineering, he has provided technical leadership on geotechnical issues affecting worldwide dam and water resource projects. Walz retired as chief, geotechnical and materials branch, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. During his career with the Corps, Walz made significant contributions as a principal designer or team leader on construction of 16 new dams; 14 major dam safety decision documents and modifications to high-hazard dams; and four seismic evaluations that led to two major modifications for the high-hazard dams. Walz was USSD president from 1999 to 2001.

— Award of Excellence in the Constructed Project to the Taum Sauk Upper Reservoir Dam Restoration Project. In December 2005, a 700-foot section of the rockfill dike surrounding the Taum Sauk Upper Reservoir in Missouri failed, releasing 1.4 billion gallons of water. The new upper reservoir, completed in late 2009, involved a complete rebuild of the dam, making it the largest roller-compacted-concrete dam in North America. The project is owned and operated by AmerenUE. The award recognized: Paul C. Rizzo Associates LLC, Ozark Constructors LLC, and A. Fred Weber-ASI Joint Venture.

— Outstanding Paper to Lewis E. Hunger and Ronn S. Rose, Corps; Bruce R. Hilton and William McCormick, Kleinfelder Inc.; and Tom Crampton, AMEC Geomatrix Inc. The paper, “Use of Hi-Resolution LiDAR in Discovering the Polaris Fault, Martis Creek Dam, Truckee,” was selected based on technical content and quality and oral presentation.

— Outstanding Poster Presentation to E.F.R. Bollars with AquaVision Engineering Ltd. in Switzerland. The presentation was entitled “A Prototype-Scaled Rock Scour Prediction Model.”

— Outstanding Young Professional Paper to R.J. Armstrong, California Department of Water Resources. The paper, “Non-Linear Numerical Modeling of Centrifuge Test Results for Embankments Underlain by Liquefied Soil,” was co-authored by R.W. Boulanger, University of California, Davis, and M.H. Beaty, Beaty Engineering. This is a new award, instituted at the 2010 meeting.

— Scholarships to three students: Tiffany E. Adams, a graduate student at Virginia Tech; Jack Montgomery, University of California, Davis; and Ryan Van Leuven, Utah State University. Adams received a $10,000 scholarship to support her research on the stability of levees with deep mixed shear walls. Montgomery and Van Leuven each received $1,000 scholarships.

U.S. awards contract for Folsom Dam gate refurbishment

The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation awarded a $7.8 million contract under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to refurbish the fixed wheel gates and appurtenances at Reclamation’s Folsom Dam.

The 198-MW Folsom Dam project is located on California’s American River.

The refurbishment will be performed by Abide International, Sonoma, Calif. The company will rehabilitate three fixed wheel gates and sets of gate stems, including installing new wheels, seals and seal clamp bars, new hydraulic operating systems and electrical systems and new monitoring systems.

Interior said in April 2009 that Reclamation would invest $22.3 million in stimulus money from the ARRA of 2009 to address dam safety concerns at Folsom Dam. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers took bids in February to build an auxiliary spillway control structure for Folsom.

Missouri establishes dam safety outreach program

With support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, an outreach program has been launched in Missouri to help increase the number of emergency action plans (EAP) completed for high-hazard-potential dams in the state.

This outreach and communications program is intended to assist the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) dam safety program and increase public awareness of the importance of EAPs for the protection of lives and property. Under Missouri regulations, dam owners have the legal responsibility to provide EAPs. However, only about 7 percent of all state-regulated high-hazard-potential dams had EAPs in mid-2009, according to DNR records.

Dams are considered to have a high hazard potential if there could be loss of life and significant property damage in the event of a breach. High-hazard-potential dams that fall under state regulations are inspected every two or three years by DNR engineers.

The centerpiece of the outreach program is a website: www.damsafetyaction.org. This website is intended for the public, dam owners, dam safety officials, and emergency management professionals. It contains educational materials about the importance of EAPs, links to state and national sources of EAP information, EAP forms, and completed samples of EAPs. Also included are: a section on the importance of inundation maps, links to organizations involved in dam safety, downloadable brochures created for the public and dam owners, and news features.

DNR has regulatory authority over dams that are more than 35 feet high, with exemptions for dams regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

For more information, visit the Internet: www.damsafetyaction.org.

California agency to evaluate safety of state-owned dams

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) plans to conduct dam safety evaluations of various state-owned dams.

The work, to be performed by consultants working with DWR’s Division of Operation and Maintenance, will involve safety evaluations of DWR dams and other facilities, culminating in separate reports for various structures.

The California Water Project includes 34 storage facilities, reservoirs, and lakes; 20 pumping plants; four pump-generation plants; five hydroelectric plants; and 700 miles of canals and pipelines.

Work is to be performed between July 2010 and June 2011. DWR plans to award three contracts for engineering geology, civil and water resources engineering, and geotechnical engineering.

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