Association of State Dam Safety Officials - June 2016 

Board Approves FY17 Action Plan & Budget

At its summer board meeting, last week, the ASDSO Board of Directors approved a $2 million budget and a comprehensive Action Plan, which directs the association for the fiscal year running from July 2016 to June 2017.
Included are a total of 120 individual projects that address the mission and goals in the 2012-17 Strategic Plan. On the list for the next cycle are the popular technical training program; dam owner education workshops/webinars; a complete overhaul of the ASDSO website; the continuation of ASDSO's legislative advocacy efforts at the federal and state levels; coordination with the National Dam Safety Program and the DHS Dams Sector, as well as other federal agencies that oversee dams; and the completion of a new strategic plan, which will carry ASDSO through the next five years. New efforts were spelled out to focus more resources on public safety around dams and on a young professionals interest group.
Additionally, negotiations are underway with the FEMA National Dam Safety Program to enter into a cooperative technical partnership. If approved, additional funds and support will allow ASDSO and FEMA to partner on new projects that support both the National Dam Safety Program and ASDSO's mission. Details to come.
As ASDSO closes its FY16 Year, watch for the Annual Report, coming soon.

ASDSO Strategic Plan Update
With the assistance of a pool of dedicated member volunteers and ASDSO staff, the ASDSO Board of Directors is in the process of updating ASDSO's Strategic Plan, a task undertaken every five years. To help inform members about the plan and ASDSO's many activities, we are highlighting one goal per month in the newsletter. This month, our focus is Goal 4:

Develop and implement financial instruments to improve dam safety programs.

State dam safety regulatory programs are operating under increasingly challenging budget constraints, and therefore securing appropriate financing for dam safety is one of ASDSO's highest priorities. ASDSO will conduct and support lobbying and advocacy campaigns to secure funding necessary to maintain the effectiveness of existing state dam safety programs, and to improve the performance of those state programs that do not currently meet the guidelines established in FEMA's publication entitled "Model State Dam Safety Program." 

The lack of financing to rehabilitate dams in the U.S. is a problem nationwide. To mitigate this problem, ASDSO will continue to advocate for the passage and implementation of legislation to fund repair of deficient dams , while simultaneously exploring and promoting alternative financing mechanisms such as Revolving Loan Funds, the development of a competitive grant program, and identifying partner organizations with interest and funding for dam rehabilitation or removal.

Within this goal, the following objectives guide yearly project development and implementation:
  1. State and Federal Program Funding, including advocating for strong state dam safety programs and full funding and improvement of the National Dam Safety Act.
  2. Repair and Rehabilitation Funding, including advocating for passage and implementation of the National Dam Rehabilitation and Repair Act, promoting promulgation of State Revolving Loan and Grant Programs, identifying existing traditional and non-traditional grant programs that could be used to forward dam safety, creating new funding sources, and more.

The team working on this goal consists of board members Tom Woosley (GA) and Roger Adams (PA); volunteers John Moyle (NJ), Kurt Rinehart (Miami Conservancy District), and Bill Bingham (Gannett Fleming); and staff representative Jennifer Burns.

Log into your member portal on to read annual progress reports.

BYU Student Wins ASDSO Scholarship 

ASDSO has selected Cali McMurtrey as the recipient of its 2016-2017 Senior Undergraduate Scholarship, which awards up to $10,000 to US citizens enrolled in accredited programs in engineering or related fields and planning careers related to the design, construction, or operation of dams.

Cali will receive a $7,500 scholarship for the 2016-2017 academic year, a complimentary one-year ASDSO membership, and complimentary registration and travel to ASDSO's 2016 annual conference in Philadelphia.

Cali is a senior at Brigham Young University majoring in civil engineering. She conducts research on low-head dams under Dr. Rollin Hotchkiss and is a teaching assistant for his Fluid Mechanics course. She recently interned at Wright Water Engineers, Inc. in Denver, where she worked with projects in hydraulics/hydrology. Cali is a member of multiple engineering organizations, including ASDSO, the Society of Women Engineers, and the American Society of Civil Engineers. She also volunteers for numerous organizations.

According to ASDSO Scholarship Chairman John Moyle, "We were especially impressed by Cali's research experience, and believe that she's going to make valuable contributions to the dam safety field."

Applications for ASDSO's 2016-2017 dam safety scholarships will soon be available for download from the Student pages of ASDSO's website. The deadline for applying is March 31, 2017.  


Promoting National Dam Safety Awareness Day
Following a story in last month's eNews, ASDSO members did their part to promote public awareness of safety of dams and safety at dams.

ASDSO issued a press release on both safety of dams and safety at dams, focusing on the Johnstown Flood, the 1976 failure of Teton Dam, and the many fatalities that occur each year at dam sites. ASDSO also posted a blog on the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Save America's Infrastructure Blog and issued a  joint National Dam Safety Awareness Day statement with ASCE, the U.S. Society on Dams, Deep Foundations Institute, and National Hydropower Association. 
On May 31, ASDSO sent out a series of tweets, Facebook, and LinkedIn posts highlighting safety at dams, which spurred retweets and communication about dam safety across the globe.

Coinciding with National Dam Safety Awareness Day, the Alabama Section of ASCE contributed a blog post to On National Dam Safety Awareness Day, Guess Which State Has No Dam Safety Program. The article notes that the state is home to at least 2,200 dams, but that a definitive inventory is non-existent due to Alabama's lack of a state dam safety program. In addition, inspections and emergency action plans are lacking for known high-hazard-potential dams.

In Maryland, Dam Safety Division Chief Hal Van Aller sent a letter to dam owners on managing risks inherent to dam ownership through emergency action planning, timely maintenance, preparation for hurricane season, and mitigation of safety risks at dams. 

An Urgent and Continuing Need to Raise Awareness of Hazards at Dams 
We ask all readers to continue efforts to raise awareness of hazardous conditions at dams. At least 22 people have drowned at dams this year, with at least six drownings and one harrowing rescue in June alone, in Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

This month, the state of Indiana announced a state agency partnership to educate the public on safety hazards at dams.  (See State Notes, below.)

Working with ASCE, ASDSO Supports Passage of Federal Legislation to Improve Dam and Levee Safety

In April, we reported that Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced S.2835, which would provide funding assistance to rehabilitate, repair or remove non-federal high hazard potential deficient dams. ASDSO worked closely with Senator Reed's staff and ASCE to help develop the legislation. The draft bill was reported out of committee along with the large Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) legislation. 

In June, ASDSO signed onto a letter coordinated by the ASCE Government Relations office appealing to the US Senate to pass WRDA before the summer recess. Ninety-three organizations in total signed onto the letter. Read the letter.

Bill summary
Bill outline

The 2016 update to the federal Water Resources Development Act adds an important rehabilitation program for dams and takes a targeted approach to levees. Explore the bill's provisions to strengthen dams and levees, as examined by ASCE's Government Relations team in its blog, Save America's Infrastructure.  

Call to Action: ASDSO members should contact their Senators to recommend support for this important program. Please see ASDSO Support for Dam Rehab Bill for more information and talking points.

Looking Back at June
Looking Ahead to July

ASDSO Board of Directors met.

ASDSO webinar held on Cracking and Hydraulic Fracturing in Embankment Dams and Levees.

ASDSO classroom course held in Jackson, MS on Inspection and Assessment of Dams.
ASDSO classroom course held in Austin, TX on Stability Analysis of Embankment Dams.

Dam owner workshops held in Georgia and Indiana.
40th anniversary of the failure of Teton Dam, ID. 
DHS Dams Sector met.
DHS Information Sharing Drill held.

12  ASDSO Webinar: 3D Influences on Seepage Safety and Development of Seepage Failure Modes
12  Georgia Dam Owner Workshop



Dam Safety 2016, Philadelphia Dam Safety 2016 Workshops  

Enhance your Dam Safety 2016 experience by participating in a specialty technical workshop.  Up to 7.5 PDHs are available for attending any of these one-day training events. The registration fee is $300, and seating is limited, so register early to secure your spot. More info.

Thursday, September 15 (two options)
The Use of Geophysical Imaging for Dam and Levee Assessment - This workshop will re-introduce geophysical technologies to the dam safety community and will provide an overview of how they are being used for dam and levee assessment.  Instructors: Scott Burch, P.E., Gannett Fleming, Inc., and Phil Sirles, Olson Engineering, Inc. Additional presenters to be announced.

Definition and Evaluation of Internal Erosion Potential Failure Modes - This interactive workshop will provide practical guidance on describing and evaluating internal erosion PFMs, and will integrate case histories and lessons learned, as well as recommendations from recent USACE, Reclamation, and ICOLD guidance documents. Instructors: John W. France, P.E., D.WRE, and Jennifer L. Williams, P.E., AECOM  

Friday, September 16
Dam Removal Training - The workshop will focus on the key issues to investigate when proposing to remove a dam, the methods by which dams are removed, as well as lessons learned from numerous dam removal projects already completed in the United States. Instructors: Laura Wildman and Paul Woodworth, Princeton Hydro; Amy Singler, American Rivers; and Jeff Boyer, RiverLogic.

ASDSO Training News  

Dam Safety 2016 National Conference 

Register today for the Dam Safety 2016 conference in Philadelphia. See the the Dam Safety 16 page of ASDSO's website for details on the technical agenda, poster presentations, specialty workshops, field trip, and networking activities.  Or download the Dam Safety 2016 Registration Packet in PDF format. Group room blocks are available at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown hotel and the Loews Philadelphia hotel. Reserve your room prior to the cutoff date to assure availability.
Looking to exhibit or sponsor at Dam Safety 2016? Booth spaces are going quickly! Download the Dam Safety 2016 contract today to reserve your space.  

Upcoming Training Events - Attendee registration is open for the following: 

Remember to Check Your Email   

Watch for ASDSO's Training & Education Newsletter,   
sent on the 15th of each month.
State Notes

ASDSO Dam Owner Workshops in Georgia, Indiana

ASDSO continues to reach out to more dam owners through a series of dam owner workshops held throughout the U.S. In June, approximately 150 dam owners in Georgia and Indiana attended ASDSO dam owner workshops. 

On July 12, the Georgia DNR Safe Dams Program will hold an additional one-day Dam Safety Workshop for Owners and Operators in Atlanta. The workshop is designed to provide practical, straightforward information on topics of importance to anyone who owns or operates a dam. Details.

For more dam owner resources, please see ASDSO's Dam Owner information portal or contact ASDSO.

Indiana Agencies Promote Low-Head Dam SafetyIndiana_LHdamSfty

The Indiana departments of Child Services, Natural Resources (DNR), and Homeland Security are partnering to raise awareness of dangers of recreating near low head dams.

In recent years, Indiana has been affected by tragic losses of lives at low-head dams, with 14 drownings statewide since 2010. There are 146 documented low-head dams in the state.

Many victims are young people who are unaware of the hazards posed by small dams. Untrained rescuers, who may act when seeing another person in trouble, also account for a significant percentage of low-head dam drowning victims nationwide.

The Indiana partnership is educating the public about shore-assisted rescue as the safest way to assist a person caught in the hydraulic of a low-head dam, and encouraging canoe and kayak enthusiasts to determine low head dam locations prior to their outings. They are also spreading the message that life jackets improve survival rates, but cannot guarantee the survival of a person caught in the hydraulic of a low-head dam, as the victim is continually pushed under by the recirculating current of water coming over the dam. Most importantly, the agencies are stressing that low-head dams should be completely avoided.

Read more in the IN DNR Press Release, 6/10/16.

What Is Dam Safety? Nevada DWR Explains! 

With the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Nevada Division of Water Resources has created a 6-minute public awareness educational video entitled "What Is Dam Safety?" This succinct and beautifully shot video features shots of numerous dams, animations of various concepts, and brief comments by Division personnel, local officials, flood control managers, dam operators, and "regular people."

Check it out here: What Is Dam Safety?  - or at, under "General Information - NV Dam Awareness Video."

Please note: This is a very large mp4 file. We recommend downloading the file (be patient; it takes a while), saving it to your hard drive, and playing it from there.

Clamor to Improve Dam Safety in South Carolina Continues

Following the state legislature's failure to act on legislation introduced in the wake of the devastating flooding that caused the failure of more than 50 dams statewide (including 48 state-regulated dams) in October 2015, state news outlets and organizations continue the push for stronger state dam safety laws and regulations. The State newspaper of Columbia has led the charge, with multiple in-depth stories by investigative reporter Sammy Fretwell and others. Stories from the past month are listed here; others can be accessed through the ASDSO Bibliography. (Select the News database, enter South Carolina in the Location field, and narrow the search by date, author, and/or keywords.)

How South Carolina Failed Its Citizens. 5/31/16, Esquire Magazine

1,000 other unsafe dams in SC?  6/18/16, The State
Former state dam safety officials Steve Bradley and John Poole say state dam safety program has been underfunded for years as development below dams has increased.

In a letter to the editor, American Rivers urges lawmakers to prepare legislation for 2017 to improve state dam safety laws.

Dams still down after flood. 6/25/16, The Times and Democrat - Orangeburg

Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board Receives $5.2 Million Grant to Address Flood Control Dams

On June 7, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service released approximately $5.2 million in Emergency Watershed Protection Program funds to the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board to repair 26 dam structures damaged by extreme rainfall events in 2015. The Board announced that it will dedicate roughly $1.5 million of its funding from the Texas Legislature to ensure that all of the federal funding is adequately matched and utilized on a local level.

2016 ASDSO Exhibit & Sponsorship Opportunities


The following positions are posted in the ASDSO Career Center:

Generation Plant Dam Safety Engineer (ENG3)
Southern California Edison, Big Creek, CA
Post Date: Monday, June 27, 2016
Close Date: Saturday, July 9, 2016

Generation Plant Dam Safety Engineer (ENG1)
Southern California Edison, Big Creek, CA
Post Date: Monday, June 27, 2016
Close Date: Saturday, July 9, 2016

Environmental Specialist IV - Dam Safety (R16-294)
Portland General Electric, Portland, OR
Post Date: Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Close Date: Thursday, July 21, 2016

Deputy Chief Dam Safety
New York City Environmental Protection, Shokan, NY
Post Date: Thursday, May 19, 2016
Close Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Engineering Project Manager
Rye Development, Boston, MA
Post Date: Thursday, May 12, 2016
Close Date: Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Project Engineer
Rye Development, Boston, MA
Post Date: Thursday, May 12, 2016
Close Date: Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Dam Inspector & Maintenance Coordinator
Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, Little Rock, AR
Post Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Close Date:  Until filled
Senior Geotechnical Manager
GEI Consultants, Carlsbad, CA
Post Date: Monday, March 7, 2016
Close Date: Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Is your company looking for an intern or entry-level employee? Several students have posted their resumes in the ASDSO Career Center and would love you hear from you!

Visit the ASDSO Career Center to view student resumes, learn more about the positions listed above, or post career and internship opportunities.   
Instructors: Deb Miller, Miller Geotechnical Consultants

Key takeaways from participating in this webinar include:
  1. Increased awareness of common conditions that lead to unfavorable stresses in embankments.
  2. Better understanding of crack-forming mechanisms associated with differential deformations and with hydraulic fracturing; cracking associated with shrinkage and earthquake loading is not covered.
  3. Need for caution when drilling in the cores of dams.
  4. Design measures to minimize risk of hydraulic fracturing and to protect against internal erosion.
  5. Construction considerations to minimize risk of cracking in dams and levees.

Member Price: $60.00
For additional dam safety resources, search 

Focus on Security     

DHS Issues Report on Impacts of 7.0 Magnitude Earthquake on San Francisco Area

The Department of Homeland Security Office of Cyber and Infrastructure Analysis (DHS OCIA) manages the advanced modeling, simulation, and analysis capabilities of the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC). OCIA-NISAC analyzed the impacts to the Dams Sector, the Highway Infrastructure and Motor Carrier Subsector, and the Water and Wastewater Systems Sector after a scenario 7.0 magnitude earthquake strikes the Hayward-Rodgers Creek Fault system in the San Francisco Bay Area. The report on their findings, titled OCIA - San Francisco Earthquake Study - Hayward Fault Scenario (June 2016), was developed in coordination with the DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate/ Office of Infrastructure Protection/ Sector Outreach and Programs Division, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the California Office of Emergency Services.

Among the key findings:
  1. A strong earthquake will likely cause significant damage to critical infrastructure in the area, affecting 547 dams or water control structures, approximately 300 roadway segments, and 172 water and wastewater treatment systems.
  2. The scenario earthquake will likely cause damage to 154 dams in the area, with seven dams experiencing extensive or complete damage.
  3. The most significant impacts would occur around the Hayward Fault line and regions corresponding to high liquefaction and landslide susceptibility.
  4. All pipelines from the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct, which supplies about 85 percent of San Francisco's water supply, cross the Hayward Fault; thus the scenario earthquake is likely to significantly affect water delivery to consumers.
The report can be accessed via the Homeland Security Information Network OCIA HSIN-CI page. Questions or concerns can be directed to

Member News

Keith Thole (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis District), was one of four developers of a new USACE instrumentation prospect course, first taught for Corps employees across the nation on June 14-16 at J. Percy Priest Dam near Nashville, Tennessee.

At right, Thole demonstrates reading a manual piezometer. (USACE photo by Leon Roberts)

Ken Wright
Ken Wright
(Wright Water Engineers, Denver, Colorado) will be a Distinguished Lecturer at the American Society of Civil Engineers 2016 Convention, Sept. 28 - Oct. 1 in Portland, Oregon. Wright will lecture on his explorations of ancient Incan infrastructure.

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

Guilherme Abrao, Geoconsultoria, Sao Paulo, BZ
Stan Aiken, NC Department of Environmental & Natural Resources, Swannanoa, NC
Julianne Amenta, GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., Cincinnati, OH
Mega Dashbold, NC Department of Environmental & Natural Resources, Swannanoa, NC
Ben Dates, Bergmann Associates, Horseheads, NY
Regis Doucette, CHLOR RID Intnl., Middletown, DE
Carl Dunn, NC Department of Environmental & Natural Resources, Washington, NC
Jovy Estremos, Los Angeles County, Alhambra, CA
Dan Ganagan, PA Department of Environmental Protection, Bellefonte, PA
James Guistina, Bergmann Associates, Rochester, NY
Mukesh Madurai, Klohn Crippen Berger, Vancouver, BC
Garrett Nordyke, TCG Engineering, Temple, TX
David Paiko, CH2M HILL, Tampa, FL
Silas Sanderson, US Army Corps of Engineers, Portland, OR
Yusuf Sharif, NC Department of Environmental & Natural Resources, Raleigh, NC
Chris Tracy, CA Department of Water Resources, Sacramento, CA
Paul Urbanik, PA Department of Environmental Protection, Bellefonte, PA 

News & Events of Other Organizations 
Virginia Tech Professor Selected as 2016-17 ASCE G-I Cross-USA Lecturer

The American Society of Civil Engineers Geo-Institute (G-I) provides the Cross-USA Geo-Institute Lecture Tour as a service to local G-I groups and members as an ongoing program to enhance the prestige of the Geo-Professions. Dr. George M. Filz, professor in the Charles E. Via, Jr.  Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the VirginiaTech, was selected to be the G-I 2016-2017 Cross-USA lecturer. His Cross-USA lecture topics are:
  • Deep Mixing for support of levees, floodwalls, dams, transportation embankments, retaining walls, tanks, and other structures
  • Seepage Barriers constructed by mix-in-place and excavate-and-replace methods
  • Geotechnical Engineering at Kennedy Space Center
  • Column-Supported Embankments, addressing load transfer from the embankment to columns and the surrounding foundation soil, with and without basal geosynthetic reinforcement; total and differential settlements of the embankment surface; and lateral spreading.
The schedule for the 2016-17 lecture tour is pending, as host applications are due July 10. Details are posted on the G-I website
USSD Call for Papers, Symposium on the Mechanics of Internal Erosion

The U.S. Society on Dams has issued a Call for Papers for its 2017 Annual Meeting, to be held April 3-7 in Anaheim, California and hosted by the California Department of Water Resources, Division of Safety of Dams.

The International Symposium on the Mechanics of Internal Erosion for Dams and Levees, to be held August 8-11, 2016 in Salt Lake City, will consist of two days of technical presentations and discussion, followed by a full-day field trip to the site of the 1976 Teton Dam failure. Robin Fell, Emeritus Professor at the University of New South Wales School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will deliver the keynote lecture.
ACEC Bestows Annual Engineering Excellence Awards

The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) held its annual Engineering Excellence Awards ceremony on April 19 in Washington, D.C. ACEC named the Gilboa Dam rehabilitation project as winner of its Grand Award; accepting the award were representatives from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, along with consulting engineers from Gannett Fleming and Hazen and Sawyer. The Gilboa project was also named ASDSO's 2015 Rehabilitation Project of the Year.  



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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 2015-2016 Board of Directors: Jim Pawloski, PE (President) - Michigan;  Dusty Myers, PE (President-Elect) - Mississippi; Jon Garton, PE (Treasurer) - Iowa; Roger Adams, PE (Secretary) - Pennsylvania; Tom Woosley, PE (Past President) - Georgia; Charlie Cobb, PE - Alaska; Shane Cook, PE - North Carolina; Bill McCormick, PE - Colorado; Art Sengupta, PE - Florida; Paul Simon, PE - Missouri; Charles Thompson, PE - New Mexico; Hal Van Aller, PE - Maryland.  Advisory Committee Representatives: Eric Ditchey, PE; Paul Schweiger, PE
Association of State Dam Safety Officials, 239 South Limestone, Lexington, KY 40508
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