Reclamation To Conduct Safety Of Dams Study At Wanship Dam

Media Contact: Ira Terry, 801-379-1012
Don Merrill, 801-379-1074

For Release: November 23, 2004

The Bureau of Reclamation will be conducting a field exploration program at Wanship Dam under the authority of the Safety of Dams Act of 1978. This program ensures that all Reclamation's dams receive periodic examinations and evaluations to ensure early detection of any potential dam safety problems. Data gained from this exploration program will be used to provide better input to risk assessments and performance parameters for the dam.

Reclamation drill crews and geologists will begin the exploration program of the foundation of the dam in December 2004 with the initial investigations anticipated to be finished within approximately two weeks. Depending on the results of the initial investigations of the foundation, which consists of clay, silt, sand and gravel, additional explorations may be required and would be expected to be performed during the spring of 2005.

The purpose of the investigations is to evaluate the potential for liquefaction of foundation alluvial materials during an earthquake. Liquefaction is the changing of loosely packed, saturated sediment from a solid into a liquid state. An earthquake of sufficient magnitude could cause liquefaction, compromising the integrity of the dam.

Wanship Dam is located in Summit County, Utah, on the Weber River. The dam provides storage for irrigation water and year-round power generation. The dam, completed in 1957, as part of the Weber Basin Project, is a zoned earth-fill dam. It is 175 feet high and 2015 feet long and impounds a reservoir of 62,120 acre-feet.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.