Dam Safety & Security

EPRI to lead cyber security project for Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected EPRI’s cyber security collaborative to perform an assessment and develop technologies, best practices, metrics, and standards to protect the U.S. electric sector against cyber attacks.

Among the tasks to be performed are:

– Assess requirements and results developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), and other organizations;

– Review power system and cyber security standards in meeting power system security requirements; and

– Test grid security technology protocols using labs and pilot projects.

Organizations participating in the collaborative are Arc Technical, Enernex, Flowers CCS, Idaho National Laboratory, Inguardians, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, N-Dimension, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Palo Alto Research Center, Sandia National Lab, SRI, Telcordia, Texas A&M University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Houston, University of Minnesota Smart Grid consortium, and Xanthus Consulting International.

Selection of the EPRI collaborative is part of a program that will ultimately lead to the creation of a National Electric Sector Cyber Organization, EPRI says. This federal government-electric sector partnership will analyze the cyber security status of transmission and distribution systems in the U.S. as smart grid technologies are incorporated.

DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory and the collaborative will negotiate a funding level for the research initiative, EPRI says. Up to $10 million is expected to be available over three years to establish the organization, fund research and development, and set up administrative and operational functions. The organization is expected to become self-sustaining within those three years.

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 Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, in October 2010.

New officers and directors

Joe Farwell, P.Eng., of Grand River Conservation Authority was elected president. He formerly was vice president of CDA and replaces Sayed Ismail, hydrotechnical specialist consultant, who is now immediate past president.

Another officer elected is Clare Raska of BC Hydro, vice president. Bill Duncan of Saskatchewan Watershed Authority continues to serve as secretary treasurer.

Three new members of the board of directors are: Simon Douglas of Klohn Crippen Berger; Jean-Pierre Tournier of Hydro-Quebec; and Robert Woolgar of Hatch.

Other members continuing on the board of directors include:

– Gilles Bourgeois of GENIVAR;

– Wayne Carlson of Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada;

– Simon Cullum-Kenyon of Thurber Engineering Ltd.;

– Greg Haist of Northwest Territories Power Corp.;

– Bryyon Keene of Quinte Conservation Authority;

– Ellis O’Neil of Nova Scotia Power Inc.;

– Caius Priscu of AMEC Earth & Environmental;

– Andy Small of AMEC Earth & Environmental; and

– Karen Wog of AMEC, Edmonton Geotechnical;

Members retiring from the board are:

– Tony Bennett, Ontario Power Generation, past president;

-Johanne Bibeau of RSW Inc.;

– Charles Holder of BC Hydro; and

– E. Gerard Piercy of Newfoundland & Labrador Hydro.

Award winners

CDA presented awards in four categories.

– The Published Paper Award went to Jose A. Vasquez, PhD, and Jose J. Roncal for “Testing River2D and Flow-3D for Sudden Dam-Break Flow Simulations.” The award is offered to authors who prepare and publish an outstanding article or technical paper on dam-related issues in Canada.

– Bryan Tatone received the Gary Salmon Memorial Scholarship. Tatone is a PhD student at the University of Toronto, focusing on the initiation of failure in brittle geomaterials. 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 recipient receives a C$5,000 award.

– Tarek Hamade and Kaley Crawford-Flett each received Research Awards. Hamade is a PhD student at McGill University, focusing on the risk quantification methods for the assessment of the stability of mine tailings dams. Crawford-Flett is a PhD student at the University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on better explaining the seepage-induced behavior of soils in dam applications. Each recipient receives a C$1,000 cash award.

– Jonas Roberts and Lucian Stefan each received Student Awards. Roberts is a PhD student at Memorial University of Newfoundland. His research centers on exploring the impacts of climate change on hydro resources in Newfoundland and Labrador. Stefan is a PhD student at Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal. His studies relate to the development of robust models for structural analysis of concrete dams, as well as rehab strategies for hydraulic structures. The award was created to encourage university students to consider careers in dam-related disciplines. Each recipient receives a C$500 cash award and a CDA membership.

Reclamation to move forward on Minidoka Dam repairs

The Bureau of Reclamation issued a record of decision in September 2010 to select and implement the preferred alternative in the final environmental impact statement for Minidoka Dam. This alternative involves replacing the spillway and canal headworks.

The environmental review was completed in August 2010.

Minidoka Dam, on the Snake River in Idaho, is an 86-foot-high zoned earthfill structure. The dam impounds water for a 27.7-MW hydro project and began operating in 1909.

The concrete of the 2,237-foot-long wood and concrete spillway, stoplog structure piers, and canal headworks has deteriorated to the point where it could fail soon, Reclamation says. In addition, the headworks for the canals that run on the north and south sides of the dam show visible signs of deterioration. Repair work should take less than three years and cost $50 million.

At this time, the proposal to raise the height of dam by 5 feet is on hold.

The Idaho Legislature is funding studies of enlarging the dam to secure more reservoir storage. Legislators say past Reclamation studies estimate the work would provide an additional 40,000 to 50,000 acre-feet of storage. Lake Walcott currently has a total storage capacity of 21,000 acre-feet.

Raising the dam is anticipated to cost $205 million if the work is performed separately from the repairs.

ASDSO names officers, presents awards

The Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) announced new officers and presented awards during an awards banquet held at its annual conference in September 2010 in Seattle.

New officers

John H. Moyle of New Jersey is the new president of ASDSO. Moyle took office during the 2010 annual meeting, succeeding David A. Gutierrez of California, now immediate past president.

Also serving as 2010-2011 ASDSO officers are Zahir (Bo) Bolourchi of Louisiana (president-elect), Jason Campbell of Illinois (treasurer), and Patrick Diederich of Nebraska (treasurer).

Moyle is manager of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Dam Safety and Flood Control. Gutierrez is chief of the Division of Safety of Dams in the California Department of Water Resources. Bolourchi is director of the Public Works and Water Resources programs for the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development. Campbell is a dam safety/floodway permitting engineer with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Diederich is chief of dam safety for the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources.

Outgoing board members are Rob Martinez of Nevada and Dennis Dickey of Pennsylvania.

Student awards

ASDSO presented several student awards, including two scholarships and the winners of a student paper competition.

Brian Bellmore, a Michigan Technological University 5th year undergraduate pursuing degrees in civil and surveying engineering, received the $7,500 Senior Undergraduate Scholarship. He has completed six summer internships with engineering firms and plans to embark on a career as a civil engineer specializing in water resources.

Erin Dovel, a senior at the College of New Jersey majoring in civil engineering and focusing on hydrology, received the $2,500 Northeast Regional Council for Safe Dams scholarship. She is interning with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Dam Safety Section and plans to pursue a master’s degree in water resources or environmental engineering.

ASDSO’s Committee on Education Outreach chose two winners for its Student Paper Competition. The winners were Benjamin Skousen of the University of Utah and Lourdes Polanco of Utah State University. The winners presented their papers at the annual conference and received a $500 prize.

Awards of merit

This year’s National Award of Merit was presented to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). In September 2009, ASDSO and NRCS renewed their partnering agreement, which resulted in increased efforts to work together to reduce risk from dam failures. To improve emergency planning at dams, NRCS and ASDSO are teaching local dam owners how to create, maintain, and test emergency action plans (EAP), using a model EAP designed by ASDSO. NRCS also is working to refine and improve its dam inventory, with the goal of streamlining the data collection process and improving data quality.

Several regional awards of merit also were presented at the banquet.

Warren D. Samuelson, manager of the Dam Safety Section of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, received the West Region Award of Merit. The award was given for his dedication to revamping a once severely understaffed state dam safety program. Since 2003, program staff has increased from five full-time equivalents to 29.

Francis E. (Ed) Fiegle II, program manager for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Safe Dams Program, received the Southwest Region Award of Merit. The award honored his more than 30 years of dedication to the Safe Dams Program and the fact that he has been an integral part of dam safety in Georgia, the southeast, and the nation.

Hazen and Sawyer, P.C., and the Upper Potomac River Commission received the Northeast Region Award of Merit for development and execution of a plan to replace the flood gates at Savage River Dam. In late 2007, one of the emergency gates at this 180-foot-high, high hazard potential dam stuck in the closed position. Under this plan, the new gates were put into operation in April 2010.

American Electric Power in Columbus received the Midwest Region Award of Merit for its commitment to improving dam safety and reducing potential impacts to downstream property and human life in the event of dam failure. AEP is upgrading its Ohio dams to bring them into compliance with dam safety laws. This work includes reducing the height of two high hazard dams, fully breaching three high hazard dams, and performing repairs to other dams.

Rehabilitation project of the year

ASDSO selected the gatehouse anchorage system for Prettyboy Dam as its 2010 rehabilitation project of the year. Prettyboy is a concrete gravity dam built in the 1930s and owned by the city of Baltimore. This reservoir, together with the downstream Loch Raven Reservoir, provides about 60 percent of the water supply for the Baltimore metropolitan area. Work was needed to deal with extensive cracking in the gatehouse and adjacent main body of the dam, as well as substantial water leakage into the gatehouse stairwell.

Alvi Associates Inc. of Towson, Md., designed a $6 million anchorage system consisting of 38 post-tensioned steel threadbar anchors. Brayman Construction installed the anchors, which were core-drilled up to 70 feet into the dam in water depths up to 100 feet.

Other awards

The President’s Award was given to John W. France, P.E. This award is given to an individual or group who has assisted the president during his or her term in office. France, vice president, senior principal, and national technology leader for dams in the Denver office of URS Corp., loyally attended every ASDSO board meeting and contributed to assist ASDSO in moving policy and projects forward. He serves on ASDSO’s conference program, finance, and technical journal committees and is a trainer for ASDSO Dam Owner Workshops.

Corps plans risk analysis modeling for civil works

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to hire a firm to develop risk analysis and reliability models for civil works infrastructure in the New England District.

The district seeks a company that can develop and support risk analysis models and develop reliability models for Corps civil works. Planned work areas include structural, geotechnical, electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic engineering disciplines. Experience is sought in hurricane and coastal protection, flood control, navigation, and hydro projects.

Dam safety work to be performed at 4.5-MW Echo Dam

The Bureau of Reclamation is preparing for a dam safety project at 4.5-MW Echo Dam on Utah’s Weber River.

Preparation work includes drilling and installing numerous dewatering and observation wells to lower the groundwater table in the area immediately downstream of the dam to accommodate seismic retrofit work. The work is part of Reclamation’s Safety of Dams Program.

Echo Dam is a 158-foot-tall zoned earthfill structure that was completed in 1931 as part of the Weber River Project to help supply supplemental irrigation water to 109,000 acres west of the Wasatch Mountains. The dam is operated by the Weber River Water Users Association.

Lowering the groundwater table will facilitate excavation to replace potentially liquefiable materials in the foundation with stronger, denser material.

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