Inspection and Assessment of Dams: Agenda

Tuesday, July 24 - 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 (provided)
    • 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, July 25 - 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 (provided)
    • 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, July 26 - Day Three

The field trip on the third day of the seminar will feature tours of New Waddell Dam and Town Lake Dam.  In 2017 the City of Tempe replaced the 18-foot high inflatable rubber dam at the west end of Tempe Town Lake next to the Tempe Center for the Arts with a new, hydraulically-operated steel gate dam. The system is the country's largest hydraulically-operated steel gate dam system.  Beyond providing flood control to make the City of Tempe safer and allow development, Town Lake has benefitted the city so far with more than $1.5 billion of economic impact. Approximately 40,000 people work within a mile of Tempe Town Lake and 4,000 people live near its shores. The lake is the second most visited site in Arizona, second only to the Grand Canyon. The New Waddell Dam is an embankment dam on the Agua Fria River in Maricopa County, Arizona, 35 miles northwest of Phoenix. It serves as part of the Central Arizona Project and provides water for the Maricopa Water District. The dam creates Lake Pleasant and affords flood protection, hydroelectric power production and recreational opportunities.  Construction of the dam was completed in 1994 at a cost of $625 million.

8:00 am - 8:30 am: Pre-field Trip Classroom Briefing
8:30 am - 11:00 am: Damsite Visit No. 1
                                -ROV Conduit Inspection Demonstration
                                -Gate Assessment and Operation Demonstration
                                -Conduit Sliplining Demonstration
                                -Group Inspection of Dam
11:00 am - 12:00 pm: Damsite Visit No. 2 
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm: Lunch (provided)
1:30 pm - 3:30 pm: Final Classroom Session: 
                               Dam Inspection Debriefing and Preparation of Inspection Report

Special thanks to our sustaining members