Long-term Performance of Cut-off Walls to Prevent Seepage in Dams
What are the long-term performance characteristics of cutoff walls used to prevent seepage in dams?
Need and Benefit
Cutoff walls are frequently used to slow down or prevent seepage of water through and/or around dams. There are a number of techniques for the construction of cutoff walls including concrete, cement-bentonite slurries, and cement grouting. They are thought to be a long-term solution to blocking seepage, but new information may suggest they are not as effective as once thought. Because Reclamation has such a large inventory of dams, the results of this study could have tremendous impacts on Reclamation and its structures. Identifying those techniques which are most effective for seepage prevention will help Reclamation improve the performance of its structures.
Bureau of Reclamation Review
The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.
Reclamation’s Seepage Barrier Experience - A Cursory Scoping Study (final, PDF,
By Doug Hurcomb
Report completed on October 24, 2011
A reading of "Findings of Case Histories on the Long-Term Performance of Seepage Barriers in Dams" by John Rice and J. Michael Duncan, 2010, and input from TSC designers raised our curiosity about Reclamation'
This information was last updated on September 22, 2014
Contact the Research and Development Office with questions or comments about this page