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TSC Resources for Dam Safety Programs

To protect our nation's security, economy, and environment, Reclamation's facilities must be operated and maintained safely. Throughout the 17 Western States, Reclamation has 457 dams and dikes. Of these, 358 would endanger lives if a failure occurred. Reclamation ensures safety through inspections for safety deficiencies, analyses that use current technologies and designs, and corrective actions if needed based on current engineering practices.

Inspecting dams Reclamation's Dam Safety Program was officially implemented in 1978 with passage of the Reclamation Safety of Dams Act, Public Law 95-578. This act was amended in 1984 under Public Law 98-404. Reclamation's Dam Safety Office in Denver, Colorado, develops and administers safety of dams activities.

The Federal Government has developed Training for Dam Safety modules that are self-contained, self-paced text supplemented by video presentations. The modules can be tailored to meet individual or organizational needs.The Technical Service Center offers Safety Evaluation of Existing Dams (SEED) seminars both within the U.S. and internationally.

Reclamation's Dam Safety, SEED, and SOD client liaison is Tim Tochtrop (86-68312), 303-445-2990 or TTochtrop@usbr.gov.

Technicians inspect a hydroelectric generator. Materials Engineering and Research Laboratory (86-68180) MERL's testing and field analysis helps ensure that dams are safe. Investigations include:

Economics and Resource Planning Team (86-68212)
Economic investigations and financial analysis of Safety of Dams projects

Embankment Dams and Geotechnical Engineering Groups (86-68311, 86-68312, and 86-68313) examine earth and embankment dams and foundation and slope issues for all Reclamation structures to provide:

Recent projects include analyzing seismic stability on Wickiup Dam, Oregon. We have also helped the Dam Safety Office conduct inspection training and seepage and piping training.

Engineering Geology Group
(86-68320) quantifies earthquake hazards to Reclamation dams, canals, powerplants and tunnels. Our geophysicists, seismologists, and geologists provide information needed by Reclamation engineers to evaluate the seismic stability and safety of these structures, including seismic hazard analysis, engineering geophysical consultation and interpretation, and seismotectonic evaluations for engineered structures.

Instrumentation and Inspections Group (86-68360)

Flood Hydrology and Consequences Group (86-68250) evaluates hydrology data and techniques that ensure the hydrologic safety of water control structures. We also use this information to:

Emergency Management and GIS Group (86-68260) can help to:

Hydraulic Investigations and Laboratory Services (86-68460) conducts laboratory tests, field tests, and analytical studies that support dam safety modifications and development of new dam safety technologies.  Active projects and recent products include a patented embankment overtopping protection system, research on prediction of dam foundation erosion, research on embankment dam breach processes and prediction of dam breach parameters, rehabilitation and improvement of spillway structures, and development of test procedures for outlet works emergency gates.


Please contact a client liaison (303) 445-2561 to help you get the most efficient services for your needs.