Inspection and Assessment of Dams: Agenda

Tuesday, April 10 - Day One

All workshop participants will spend the first day in a “Safety Evaluations 101” format with learning goals relevant to both engineers and dam owner/operators. The primary goal of the first day is to familiarize participants with a variety of dam types, understand the function of typical dam features, obtain a general understanding of the evolution of dam construction in the United States, and become aware of common dam failure modes and the conditions that can lead to these failure modes. Actual dam failure cases will be presented so that participants will grasp the seriousness and responsibilities associated with performing dam inspections and assessments, know what to look for, and be able to identify potential deficiencies at dams before they become a problem. Public safety, security, and liability will also be discussed along with approaches to responding to dam incidents. The importance of identifying hazard creep as part of the inspection process will also be discussed.

  • 7:30 am – 8:00 am: Registration
  • 8:00 am – 8:15 am: Introductions and Course Overview
  • 8:15 am – 10:15 am: Dam Fundamentals
  • 10:15 am – 12:00 am: Why Do Dams Fail? – Part 1
  • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: Lunch On Own
    • Optional Video Presentation – History Channel: Unleashed
  • 1:15 pm – 2:15 pm: Why Do Dams Fail? – Part 2
  • 2:15 pm - 3:30 pm: Public Safety, Security and Dam Owner Liability
  • 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm: Hazard Creep, EAPs & EAP Exercises, and Responding to Dam Incidents


Wednesday, April 11 - Day Two

Participants will focus on the more technical learning goals; on acceptable standards for the condition of dams, and on performing dam inspections. Day two includes techniques for inspecting and assessing embankment dams, outlet conduits, drains, relief wells, spillways, instrumentations and concrete dams. The emergence of drones and their application to inspecting and assessing dams will be discussed.

For the optional evening session, presentations will be made on the latest advanced ROV and underwater inspection technology, and the lessons-to-be-learned from the Oroville Spillway incident. Participants are also invited to bring photos or a brief PowerPoint presentation showing dam deficiencies they have encountered, and discuss solutions and strategies to address the deficiencies.

  • 8:00 am – 9:00 am: Preparing for a Dam Inspection
  • 9:15 am – 10:30 am: Inspecting Embankment Dams
  • 10:45 am – 12:00 pm: Inspecting Outlet Conduits, Drains, and Relief Wells
  • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: Lunch On Own
    • Optional Video Presentation: 20/20 – Trouble in Paradise: The Kaloko Dam Failure
  • 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm: Dam Instrumentation
  • 2:15 pm – 3:30 pm: Inspecting Spillways
  • 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm: Inspecting Concrete Dams


Thursday, April 12 - Day Three: Field Tour

Day Three: All participants will attend a field exercise to practice inspection techniques they have learned in the classroom. The exercise typically includes a video inspection of a conduit, reading instruments, identifying common problems and repairs to gates, valves, conduits and deteriorated concrete, and discussions on methods of addressing animal damage and uncontrolled vegetation. Following the field exercise, the class will be given a tour or Oroville Dam and observe some of the emergency reconstruction work to the principal and auxiliary spillways.

  • 8:00 am - 8:30 am: Pre-field Trip Classroom Briefing
  • 8:30 am - 12:00 am: Damsite Visit No. 1
    • ROV Inspection Demonstration
    • Group Inspection of Dam
  • 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm: Lunch (provided)
  • 1:30 pm - 5:00 pm: Tour of Oroville Dam and return to Sacramento

Please review the detailed field trip information included on the Seminar Details page!

Special thanks to our sustaining members