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.
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.
Materials Engineering and Research Laboratory (86-68180) MERL's testing and field analysis helps ensure that dams are safe. Investigations include:
- Assessing the condition of dams, spillways, bridges, and water conveyance structures
- Non-destructive testing of dams and other concrete structures
- Preparing technical specifications and performance-based specifications
- Designing corrosion monitoring and cathodic protection systems, including technical specifications and engineering drawings and geosynthetic elements including geomembranes, geotextiles, geodrains
- Technical climbing services for dams, spillways, and powerplants
- Concrete construction laboratory testing and inspection
- Concrete coring investigations
- Dam safety research laboratory investigations
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:
- Comprehensive reviews of dams
- State-of-the-art studies, analyses, and designs for embankment dams and geotechnical aspects of other structures
- Specification drawings and paragraphs
- Disaster response services such as inspections and damage survey reports
- Risk analysis
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)
- Dam safety analysis of instrumentation data
- Dam safety documents
- Dam safety technical priority rating system
- Dam safety training
- Dam Safety Information and Data Management System
- Dam safety training for dam tenders and others on various dam safety, operation and maintenance, and emergency management topics
- Public safety examinations
- Document storage and retrieval for:
- Emergency action plans and
- Dam break inundation studies (including mapping and hazard classifications)
- Dam safety databases (Dam Safety Information System and Dam Safety Data Management System)
- Security assessments
- Landslide Register, which lists all the known landslides and rockfalls that could impact Reclamation dams and associated facilities.
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:
- Provide technical reports about the probablistic and deterministic hydrology used to design water control structures and to evaluate their safety.
- Evaluate risk-reduction alternatives at unsafe dams.
- Prepare dam-break inundation studies.
Emergency Management and GIS Group (86-68260) can help to:
- Write emergency action plans.
- Conduct functional, tabletop, and full-scale emergency exercises.
- Design and install Early Warning Systems (EWS) to warn downstream inhabitants of flood potential dangers from dam failures and or large water releases.
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.