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Seminar on Safety Evaluation of Existing Dams




The Domestic Safety Evaluation of Existing Dams (SEED) Seminar will be held on May 11-15, 2015.

Please send an email to lkrest@usbr.gov with any questions.

For the International Seminar, please visit http://www.usbr.gov/international/seminars.html


Because the often-catastrophic consequences of dam failure are unacceptable, the need for trained personnel is essential. This seminar provides attendees with comprehensive instruction in dam safety examination and evaluation. Although references will be made to organizational procedures and units of Reclamation, the principles, concepts, and procedures are readily adaptable to any organization conducting a regulatory or in-house dam safety program for existing dams.


The basic seminar emphasizes the importance of dam safety and provides information and instruction in dam safety surveillance, including periodic review of pertinent records, visual examination, and monitoring of instrumentation. Hydrologic considerations, concrete repair, remedial measures for dams, and emergency action planning are also discussed. The seminar is suitable for engineers, technicians, maintenance personnel, and administrators responsible for dams.

The seminar includes a visit to a local Colorado dam to practice inspection techniques during a simulated dam examination.

As part of the seminar, three concurrent workshops are being presented on Thursday afternoon to provide more information on the following subject areas:

  • Engineering Geology and Dam Safety Workshop presents an introduction to geologic investigation and evaluation relative to dam safety static and seismic issues.
  • Evaluation and Response to Seepage and Internal Erosion Concerns presents seepage process and failure modes, types of sinkhole formations, and approaches for investigating and responding to seepage and internal erosion conditions.
  • Emergency Management presents key elements of a dam owner's responsibilities regarding facility operations in response to emergencies, namely detection, decision making, and notification and how to exercise those responsibilities through simulated events.

Training Staff

The seminar instructors will consist of a group of professional engineers and geologists who have a great deal of experience and knowledge in the areas of design, construction, operation, maintenance, instrumentation, and dam safety evaluation. Many of the instructors have conducted training programs for Reclamation and other US and foreign personnel involved in dam safety.

Seminar Tuition

Free. Reclamation's Dam Safety Office is providing the seminar at no cost to attendees. However, due to agency restrictions, the audience is limited to Federal agency, Tribal and Reclamation Water District personnel. Interested States, local Governments and private sector staff, please visit the Association of State Dam Safety Officials website for dam safety training alternatives.

Participants will receive a seminar notebook (not available separately) and some additional material to supplement the lectures. Limited numbers of the Safety Evaluation of Existing Dams Manual; and the book, "Dams and Public Safety," will be available. It is suggested that you leave space in your luggage for these books or bring your method of payment and shipping label and the hotel will mail your books to your home office for you.


DOI EMPLOYEES: DOI Employees are required to register and obtain supervisor approval in DOI Learn. To locate the course in the DOI Learn catalog, use the keywords: SEED Seminar. Be sure to choose the class on May 11, 2015. You will not be added to the roster until supervisory approval is received in DOI Learn. Registration is open to Federal agency, Reclamation water district partner and tribal employees.

NON-DOI EMPLOYEES:  For non-DOI registration, please fill out the registration form and return it to SEEDSeminar@usbr.gov no later than May 8, 2015.

Registration is limited, and applications for attendance will receive consideration according to the order in which they are received.


The seminar will be held at the Sheraton Denver West Hotel (303) 987-2000 located at 360 Union Blvd., Lakewood CO.
Participants must make lodging reservations at the Sheraton Denver West Hotel.

A limited number of rooms at the government rate are blocked at the hotel with rates of $163 per night single occupancy (before taxes). To make hotel reservations, call the hotel directly or use the website link before April 9, 2015 and refer to the Group "Bureau of Reclamation SEED Seminar" to receive the government rate.  Rooms at the government rate will be released on April 9, so please reserve your room prior to this date.

Note the conference begins on May 11 through May 15; however, rooms are available from May 9 through May 15.  Government rate lodging includes complimentary full breakfast buffet. Additionally, the Sheraton includes club level access during your stay.


Participants will be responsible for their own transportation to and from Denver International Airport. Shuttle services are available (Super Shuttle, www.supershuttledenver.com , 1-800-BLUE VAN (258-3826), or phone 303-370-1300), with a fare of about $35.00 each way for each passenger. The RTD Skyride, Route Schedule AF (http://www.rtd-denver.com/skyRide_SubHome.shtml for information on rates and schedules) is available to the Cold Springs Park-N-Ride (ends about 3 blocks from the Sheraton hotel complex), with a fare of $13 each way for each passenger. From Union Station downtown, there is a Light Rail route that drops off behind the hotel. Reclamation will provide transportation to and from the dam sites during the field trip on Wednesday.


May 11, Monday - 7:30-4:30

  • Registration
  • Welcome and Opening Remarks
  • Background and Dam Safety Perspectives
  • Operation and Maintenance Perspectives
  • Lessons from Dam Incidents
  • Identification of Failure Modes
  • Geology and Dam Safety
  • Risk Assessment & Analysis for Dam Safety

May 12, Tuesday - 8:00-4:30

  • Examination of Embankment Dams
  • Examination of Concrete Dams
  • Toe Drains, Concrete Dam Drains and Structural Drains
  • Examination of Facility Emergency Preparedness
  • Instrumented Monitoring of Dams
  • Examination of Appurtenant Works
  • Mechanical Equipment Testing & Examination
  • Preparation for Field Examinations

May 13, Wednesday - 7:30-4:00

  • Field Examination of Dams (May be moved or canceled due to weather)

May 14, Thursday Morning - 8:00-11:35

  • Hydrologic Considerations
  • Dam Security
  • Emergency Action Planning
  • Early Warning Systems
  • Dam Safety Research (Hydraulics Lab)
  • Materials Engineering and Research Lab

May 14, Thursday concurrent Afternoon Workshops - 12:30-4:30

Evaluation and Response to Seepage and Internal Erosion Concerns

  • Internal Erosion Failures
  • Penetrating Structures
  • Sinkhole and Sandboil Formations
  • Investigations and Monitoring
  • Emergency Response
  • Remediation Measures

Engineering Geology and Site Investigation

  • Failure Modes and Geology
  • Drilling and Sampling in Embankment Dams
  • Field and Laboratory Testing
  • Digital Photogrammetric Methods of Geologic Characterization (Pathfinder Dam)
  • Geophysical Testing Tools
  • Case History – A.V. Watkins Dam, Utah

Emergency Management (EM)

  • Exercise Design Process
  • Simulated Role-Playing Tabletop Exercise
  • Incident Management Strategies (Incident Command System)

May 15, Friday - 8:00-11:30

  • Seismic Hazard Studies for Dam Safety
  • Case Histories: Corrective Action for Embankment Dams
  • Case Histories: Corrective Action for Concrete Dams and Appurtenances
  • Closing

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

Full seminar completion is approximately 3 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Each CEU equals 10 Professional Development Hours or 10 contact hours of instruction. Full seminar completion is approved for about 3 CEUs. Certificates of attendance will be available at the conclusion of the seminar.

Further Information

If you have any questions regarding registration, please call Ms. Lisa Krest at (303) 445-3260 or email lkrest@usbr.gov.

Last Updated: 04/14/2015
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