Investigative Drilling to Begin at Ridgway Dam

Media Contact: Ed Warner, (970) 248-0654
Justyn Hock, (970) 248-0625

For Release: September 13, 2005

On Monday, September 26, the Bureau of Reclamation will begin an investigative drilling project at the downstream toe of Ridgway Dam in Ouray County, Colo. Federal work crews will station a drill rig at the toe of the dam to retrieve soil samples from the foundation as a means to assess the potential of seismic activity and the dam's structural integrity and longevity.

The investigative drilling is a part of Reclamation's regular agency-wide Safety of Dams program, which provides an ongoing assessment of Reclamation's dams and dikes in the 17 Western United States. In addition to continual monitoring through inspections, drill sampling is conducted to allow Reclamation engineers to evaluate potential hazards using contemporary design and construction standards.

A focus of the investigation is to determine how the dam would perform under seismic activity and to assess the infrastructure.

The investigative drilling will last approximately four weeks. During this period the public recreating near the dam may hear drilling related noise.

Ridgway Dam, standing 227-feet high and located on the Uncompahgre River five miles north of the town of Ridgway, is a rolled earthfill structure with a crest length of 2,430 ft. Ridgway State Park, part of Reclamation's Dallas Creek Project, includes a dam, reservoir, and recreation area.

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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.