Dam Safety 2017: Tuesday General Session

An Evolving Perspective -Dam Safety and the Impacts of the 1977 Kelly Barnes Dam Failure
Moderated by Thomas I. Roberts, P.E., Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

At about 1:30 am on the night of November 6, 1977 the Kelly Barnes Dam near Toccoa, Georgia failed. The break sent flood waters down a narrow mountain valley, over a 186 foot high waterfall, and into the campus of Toccoa Falls Bible College and the surrounding area. The flood waters killed 39 people and caused an estimated $2.8 million worth of damage. In the after math a Federal Investigative Board (FIB) was assembled by the Jimmy Carter Administration to determine the probable cause(s) and technical details relating to the failure.

The presentation will include firsthand accounts as well as a portion given by Joseph H Rogers one of the original onsite investigators. The failure of Kelly Barns Dam forever changed dam safety in the United States forever. This presentation will look at the setting, the timing and how this small dam impacted a nation. It will review the state of dam safety prior to the failure and how this failure impacted Dam Safety and laid the ground work for the creation of the Association of Dam State Dam Safety Officials.

Speakers Include:

The Impact of Dam Failures on the Development of Dam Safety Legislation and Policy in the 1970s
Nathaniel Gee, Dam Safety Manager, Lower Colorado Region, Bureau of Reclamation

Corps of Engineers Field Investigations, Evaluation, and Assessment – Kelly Barnes Dam Failure, November 6, 1977
Joseph H. Rogers, P.E., US Army Corps of Engineers (Retired)

Additional Speakers & Panelists: Thomas I. Roberts, P.E., CFM, Regional Dam Safety Engineer, VA Department of Conservation and Recreation; and David Sykora, Ph.D., P.E., Principal Engineer, Exponent Failure Analysis Associates

Special thanks to our sustaining members