Seepage Through Earth Dams

This introductory course is designed to be a participatory, interactive workshop, which will cover the basic elements required to understand and evaluate seepage-related issues for earth dams. The first day begins with providing an understanding of why seepage mechanisms in earth dams are important to dam safety. Discussions of basic principles and characteristics of seepage related to embankment dams, various modes of seepage, and computational methods for evaluating seepage will then be presented. The second day focuses on methods of investigating, controlling, and remediating dam seepage. Hands-on exercises will represent real-world, practical applications pertinent to the attendees. The final half day will include a hands-on, introductory session of the SEEP/W computer program to demonstrate computational analysis of a hypothetical seepage scenario.

Key Takeaways: 

  • Why understanding seepage mechanisms in earth dams is important to dam safety.
  • Principles and characteristics of seepage related to embankment dams, including review of potential seepage-related failure modes and their common initiators or triggers.
  • Computational methods for evaluating seepage.
  • Understanding theory, application, and design of filters.
  • Methods of investigating, monitoring, controlling, and remediating seepage problems in existing dams using case histories and hands-on exercises to enforce understanding of practical applications.

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