Association of State Dam Safety Officials - October 2016 

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Legislative Alert

A National Dam Rehabilitation Assistance Fund Could Become Law

According to our legislative advocacy partners at ASCE, four Senators have sent a letter urging the inclusion of the "Rehabilitation of High Hazard
Potential Dams" provision, Section 3004, into the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA16). Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) sponsored a standalone bill (S.2835) for the same program before having it incorporated into the Senate's WRDA16. The two senators were joined by Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) on the letter asking U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-CA), U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR) to include the provision in the final bill. The letter explains that the provision will create a valuable program to address our nation's non-federal dams, explaining, "For every dollar spent on pre-disaster mitigation, four dollars is saved in post-disaster relief. By assisting in the repair or removal of high-hazard [potential] dams before they fail, this initiative would be an investment in future cost savings, not to mention lives and property saved." 

So, we need our members to help create a final push before the end of the Congress to get this historic piece of legislation passed. Therefore, we ask you to contact your Senators and Members of Congress and ask them to contact the leadership of the appropriate committees: Environment and Public Works in the Senate, and Transportation and Infrastructure in the House (links below), and tell them that you want the dam rehab program (Sec. 3004 of the Senate bill) included in the final bill. 

Letters from your Senators and Congressional delegation should go to the following.
-          Chairman James M. Inhofe (R-Oklahoma)
-          Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-California)
-          Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania-9th)
-          Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon-4th)

Now Available:
ASDSO's 2015-2016 Annual Report

ASDSO members demonstrate a passion for dam safety through their careers and active participation in ASDSO. None of ASDSO's projects - training, legislative advocacy, student outreach, archival of historic and technical resources, a new safety at dams initiative, and much more - would be possible without a vast cadre of hard-working volunteers. 

Read about our association's work over the past fiscal year (July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016) in the 2015-2016 ASDSO Annual Report.

Hard copies of the report will be sent with the next issue of the Journal of Dam Safety.

2016 Donor Drive Underway
Consider ASDSO for Your End-of-Year Charitable Contributions

As we kick off the 2016 ASDSO Donor Drive we ask all members to consider giving back to the dam safety community through a donation to ASDSO. Donations impact the future of dam safety by providing a shot of resources to ASDSO's ability to carry out projects. Without your past donations, there would be no undergraduate scholarship funds, there would be less ability to create public outreach materials, and there would be little ability to provide education to dam owners. Let's keep those programs going and start new ones such as our new goal to reduce incidents in and around dams, especially low-head dams, and our expanded emphasis on better communication about our goals to a broader audience. 

You can donate through the ASDSO Portal or by calling 859.550.2788. ASDSO is a 501(c)(3) educational, charitable organization.

Responses Needed for National Information Sharing Survey

The FEMA, National Dam Safety Program, Information Sharing Task Group is collecting the following information and requests ASDSO members' input:

1. Description of how your organization currently handles risk communications to outside entities.
2. Good examples of risk communications - outside of the typical inundation map.
3. Contact information for others that would have a good example or give a different point of view on this issue.

Please direct responses and inquiries to Alesia Za Gara, Outreach Process Partners -


ASDSO Calendar

November 1  Last day to submit abstracts for ASDSO's 2017 Southeast Regional Conference

November 2  Maryland Dam Owner Workshop

November 3-4  ASDSO Executive Committee meeting

November 14  Dam Safety 2017 National Conference Call for Abstracts opens

December 8-9  ASDSO Board of Directors meeting in Colorado Springs, CO

December 13   Webinar: Introduction to Dam Decommissioning  


Training Notes

From ASDSO's Latest Technical Seminar

Instructors Paul Schweiger and Dean Durkee shared these photos from the field trip at ASDSO's
Inspection and Assessment of Dams Technical Seminar, held October 11-13, 2016 in White Plains, NY.

Pictured in photo at bottom right is Gary Dale, Principal Engineer for CHA, who generously allowed the class to visit two of his dam rehabilitation projects in White Plains and provided an informative, "first-class" tour.

or more ASDSO Training News, watch for ASDSO's Training & Education Newsletter, sent on the 15th of each month.
Applications Now Available for ASDSO 2017-2018 Undergraduate Scholarships

ASDSO will award up to $10,000 in scholarships for the 2017/2018 school year. Recipients must be U.S. citizens and enrolled full-time at the senior level during the 2017/2018 school year in an accredited civil engineering program, or in a related field as determined by ASDSO, and must demonstrate an interest in pursuing a career in hydraulics, hydrology, geotechnical disciplines, or in another discipline related to the design, construction and operation of dams.

Undergraduate students planning to graduate in May/December 2018 will be eligible for the 2017 scholarship. The application deadline is March 31, 2017.  Applications and further details are available here.

Promoting Safety at Dams

Silver Jackets Documentary

Over, Under, Gone - The Killer in Our Rivers low-head dams documentary sponsored by the Indiana Silver Jackets will premiere on November 16 at a special event in Indianapolis, with initial broadcast release on November 21, 9:00 pm, on WFYI, the local PBS station. Additional airings on WFYI will be held 11/22 (5 am), 11/30 (1:30 am), and 12/1 (5 am and 7:30 pm).

The new low-head dam documentary will also be aired heavily in the spring just before outdoor water activities kick into high gear. 

(Also on November 21, at 9:30, WFYI will show the Silver Jackets' first documentary, When Every River Turned against Us, about the Great Flood of 1913.)

Other Safety at Dams Initiatives

Local initiatives across the country are actively spreading the #damdangerous message:

In Indiana, the Pelorus Project was begun by the family of Sean Hiebel, who drowned at the Hosey Dam in Fort Wayne, Indiana in June 2015. Its goals:
  • Provide information and maps, at river access points, of the hazards one can face while on the rivers, and ways to stay safe.
  • Partner with government officials to implement a warning system including signs, buoys, and alerts on water conditions for Fort Wayne rivers.
  • Partner with Fort Wayne Riverfront Development team members to incorporate public safety in the development plan.
  • Partner with local river advocates to incorporate public safety in the development of waterway trails.
  • Partner with dam and hydraulic engineers to categorize, and prioritize low-head dams for targeted risk mitigation projects throughout Indiana.
Visit the Pelorus Facebook page, YouTube site, and website.

In Kentucky, Jeana Craft, Chief of the Harrison County Search and Rescue Team, held a forum in July 2016 to educate the public on the dangers of low-head dams. Craft and other local officials are continuing their efforts to curtail the dangers at Robinson Dam, where at least 28 people have drowned.

In Illinois, Bryan Sage began a project to promote boater safety and education after losing a friend to the tailwaters below Keokuk Dam. His efforts include urging a standing procedure for 911 operators' handling of river emergencies, raising awareness and cooperation of boating clubs, promoting boater safety clinics through the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and reaching out to representatives of ASDSO, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to discuss safety improvements at dam sites. (River deaths spark dam, boater safety initiatives, 10/21/16, Daily Gate City)

ASDSO applauds the efforts of these motivated volunteer champions for "safety at dams," and the new ASDSO Public Safety at Dams Committee aims to foster, support, and encourage more of them.

Publications and Resources
New dam safety publications and resources include:

Version 5.0.3 of the River Analysis System (HEC-RAS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydologic Engineering Center

Version 5.0.3 supersedes all previous versions of HEC-RAS. New features include: Culvert Inlet/Outlet control changes; Lateral Structures Connected to 2D Flow Areas; and several improvements to the RAS Mapper. More information and release notes are available here.

Report on the Immediate Causes of the Failure of the Fundão Dam (August 2016), by the  Fundão Tailings Dam Review Panel.

The Fundão tailings dam failed on November 5, 2015 in a liquefaction flowslide that initiated at the dam's left abutment. In structuring its investigation process, the Panel systematically identified and evaluated multiple causation hypotheses, each tested with three questions: (1) Why did a flowslide occur? (2) Why did the flowslide occur where it did? (3) Why did the flowslide occur when it did?

Panel members were Norbert Morgenstern, University of Alberta; Steven G. Vick, engineering consultant; Bryan D. Watts, Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd.; and Cássio Viotti, engineering consultant. The aspects of the investigation related to seismicity were conducted by Gail Atkinson, University of Western Ontario; and Ivan Wong, Lettis Consultants International, Inc.

The report, appendices and seismologists' report can be freely downloaded at

Operational Safety of Dams and Reservoirs: Understanding the reliability of flow-control systems (Institution of Civil Engineers, London, 2016), by Desmond Hartford, Gregory Baecher, Andy Zielinski, Robert Patev, Romanas Ascila, and Karl Rytters.

This book, available for purchase from the ICE Bookstore, establishes a holistic approach for analyzing and assessing the properties of dam systems, such as spillway reliability, SCADA systems, energy dissipation, and more. It includes case studies of the Elko Dam incident, Canada; Taum Sauk Dam failure, Missouri; Tous Dam failure, Spain; and the impact of the Three Gorges Dam, China. 

The Environment Agency, responsible for reservoir safety research and development in England and Wales, established a Reservoir Safety Theme Group under the Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management R&D Programme to manage the research program. The themes are:
  • Reservoir safety research strategy
  • Dam and reservoir conduits
  • Drawdown capacity
  • Design, operation and adaptation of reservoirs for flood storage
  • Grouting in dams
  • Performance of grass and soil in resisting erosion
  • Assessing reservoir capacity limits
  • Investigating the structural safety of cracked concrete dams
  • Future priorities
This update summarizes the work within each of these themes and provides links for input and for subscribing to a bi-annual newsletter.

Aging Dams and Clogged Rivers - An Infrastructure Plan for America's Waterways (Center for American Progress, 2016), by Jenny Rowland.
This report, freely available for download, aims to outline the next phase in federal dam policy and update the values and goals surrounding dam infrastructure and healthy rivers. It offers two overarching policy solutions:
  • Incentivize the decommissioning and removal of obsolete and unnecessary dams
  • Modernize dams that are beneficial and needed

For additional dam safety resources, search 

In Memoriam: Steve Poulos (1933-2016)

Dr. Steve J. Poulos, geotechnical engineer and co-founder of GEI Consultants, Inc., passed away on October 6, 2016. A native of Burlington, VT, Steve received a BS in civil engineering, an MS in soil mechanics and hydraulics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a PhD in soil mechanics from Harvard.

In the late 1950s, Steve served as a U.S. Navy engineering officer in Japan and stateside. He then spent 9 months as a geotechnical engineer for a Boston consulting firm before beginning his studies at Harvard under Professor Arthur Casagrande.

From 1964 to 1970, Steve was an Assistant Professor of Soil Mechanics at Harvard and an instructor for five special programs in soil mechanics that Harvard presented to more than 200 experienced engineers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, other governmental agencies, and leading private engineering companies. While at Harvard, Steve was also active in consulting and in advising students on their research.

In 1970, when Harvard's geotechnical engineering program closed, Steve and several colleagues founded Geotechnical Engineers, Inc. (now GEI Consultants). Steve served as President of the firm for three 4-year terms and as Treasurer for several terms. Throughout his 45 years at GEI, Steve served as geotechnical consultant for a wide variety of clients and projects until retiring in 2015.

Steve shared his knowledge freely, through teaching (including ASDSO technical seminars), authoring or co- authoring more than 25 technical papers, and, with colleague Ron Hirschfeld, co-editing the book Embankment Dam Engineering, a tribute to Arthur Casagrande. 

Steve was a recognized expert on dam engineering, especially the assessment of the static and seismic stability and hydraulic safety of existing dams. He served on a national panel for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate the condition of high-risk dams most in need of remediation, and to define and prioritize necessary explorations, design, and construction.

Steve recognized the immense personal responsibility that engineers have for the health and safety of the public. He made it a cornerstone of his career to live up to that responsibility, and to help other engineers do so. He was a generous mentor who summarized his expectations of himself and of those he mentored in a few simple words: Kindness, Initiative and Integrity, and Competence, or K-I-C. He exemplified these attributes in every aspect of his life, both professional and personal. He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew him.

This webinar provides an overview and background on current data and methods used in estimating hydrologic hazard curves for dam and levee safety.
Viewers will gain an understanding of:
  1. Hydrologic hazard curves for dam and levee safety risk analysis
  2. Extreme storm, flood, and paleoflood data sets for hydrologic hazard curves
  3. Hydrologic hazard methods currently in use by USACE and other federal agencies for dam safety risk analysis
  4. The philosophy and approach used to integrate meteorology, flood hydrology, and paleoflood hydrology to estimate hydrologic hazard curves with uncertainty.
  5. Ongoing activities and future directions in estimating hydrologic hazard curves
Member Price: $60

A compendium of technical papers presented at the 2016 ASDSO Annual Conference held September 11-15 in Philadelphia, PA. Contents.

Member Price: $54.00

Welcome New Members!
The following individuals joined ASDSO in October:

Nancy Bell, Law Offices of PalmerOliver, P.C., Springfield, MO
Deron Davis, USDA - NRCS, Amherst, MA
Matt Derro, Toronto & Region Conservation Authority, Toronto, ON
Steve Floyd, City of Fort Smith, Fort Smith, AR
Lance McAvoy, City of Fort Smith, Fort Smith, AR
Steve Rogers, Golder Associates, Lakewood, CO
Marshall Sykes, South Carolina Emergency Management Division, West Columbia, SC
Benjamin Webster, Stantec, Lexington, KY


Visit the ASDSO Career Center to learn about the positions listed below, view student resumes, and post career and internship opportunities.

Environmental Programs Specialist IV
OK Water Resources Board, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Post Date: Friday, October 28, 2016
Close Date: Friday, November 4, 2016

GS 15 Supervisory Civil Engineer, or Supervisory Geologist
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, San Francisco, California
Post Date: Friday, October 21, 2016
Close Date: Monday, November 21, 2016

Dam Professional
Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd., Various Locations
Post Date: Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Close Date: Sunday, December 11, 2016

Senior Project Manager/Water Resources Engineer
GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., Norwood, Massachusetts
Post Date: Friday, September 9, 2016
Close Date: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Partner News and Events
American Rivers Petition: Removing Dams Can Save Lives - Noting ASDSO's study that more than $70 billion would be required to rehabilitate our nation's dams (including more for $18 billion for high-hazard-potential dams), American Rivers has begun a petition that states: "We support federal agencies and state governments that remove outdated dam infrastructure as a commonsense and cost-effective approach for eliminating hazards and restoring our rivers for the people, fish, and wildlife that rely on them."

NHERI@UTexas Workshop Invitation: 3D Levee Imaging - The Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure Equipment Facility at the University of Texas at Austin (NHERI@UTexas) is hosting a workshop on non-intrusive 3D levee imaging in St. Louis, MO on November 11, 2016.  This workshop is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The goal is helping researchers to prepare research proposals for the NSF.  The workshop will include presentations on NHERI@UTexas equipment and non-intrusive levee imaging, followed by a field demonstration of a proof-of-concept 3D imaging study on the Mel-Price Wood River levee. Travel support is available for a number of participants. Preference will be given to those interested in submitting proposals to the Engineering for Natural Hazards (ENH) program of NSF.

Best Practices for Inspection, Maintenance and Repair of Small to Medium Size Dams, a webinar taught by John France for Lorman Education Services, will be held December 21, 2016. This live webinar is designed for engineers, project managers, architects, developers, presidents, vice presidents, planners, property owners, environmental professionals, hydrologists and government officials.

Call for Abstracts: 7th International Conference on Flood Management (ICFM7) - Abstracts submissions are due December 1, 2016 for the 7th International Conference on Flood Management (ICFM7), "Resilience to Global Changes - Anticipating the Unexpected," to be held September 5-7, 2017 at the University of Leeds, UK.

E0431 Understanding the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), a course recently held at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland, will be held again May 8-11, 2017. This course enables emergency management personnel and response and recovery personnel from all political jurisdictions to more effectively understand, activate, implement, and use the EMAC system.

38th Annual Short Course - Grouting Fundamentals and Current Practice will be held May 15-19, 2017 at the University of Texas at Austin. Since 1979 the Grouting Fundamentals and Current Practice course has covered pressure grouting as a method to improve geotechnical characteristics of soils and rock masses, with special focus on mechanisms, theories, and practical applications of grouting to ground densification and strengthening, permeability reduction, and groundwater cutoffs.
Grouting 2017: Grouting, Deep Mixing, and Diaphragm Walls Conference will be held July 9-12, 2017 at the Sheraton Waikiki in Honolulu, Hawaii. The conference will focus on new technologies and current practice related to Grouting, Deep Mixing and Diaphragm Walls.


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Association of State Dam Safety Officials
239 South Limestone St.
 Lexington, Kentucky 40508
This newsletter is written and distributed by the Association of State Dam Safety Officials, 239 S. Limestone St., Lexington, KY 40508.  Contact ASDSO by phone (859.550.2788; toll-free: 855.228.9732), fax (859.550.2795), or email (

ASDSO 2016-2017 Board of Directors: Dusty Myers (President) - MS; Jon Garton (President-Elect) - IA; Roger Adams (Treasurer) - PA; Hal Van Aller (Secretary) - MD; Jim Pawloski (Past President) - MI; Trevor Timberlake - AR; Bill McCormick - CO; Ann Kuzyk - CT; Tom Woosley - GA; Ken Smith - IN; Charles Thompson - NM; Alon Dominitz - NY; Brad Cole - NC; Yohanes Sugeng - OK; Nathan Graves - WY. Advisory Committee Representative: Paul Schweiger - Gannett Fleming
Association of State Dam Safety Officials, 239 S. Limestone, Lexington, KY 40508
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