Tests and Sampling to Begin at El Vado Dam

Media Contact: Mary Carlson, (505)462-3576, mcarlson@usbr.gov

For Release: October 04, 2018

Albuquerque, N.M. – There will be more traffic and activity at El Vado Dam and Reservoir in October as crews perform various tests and work in the area.

Geomembrane test panels will be installed on a portion of the dam as part of a demonstration project. Contractors will be on site beginning October 8 to construct the geomembrane test panels and install them over the existing steel faceplate near the left side of the dam looking downstream. The test panels will be approximately 20 feet wide and 30 feet tall. The work may require some brief closures of state Highway 112 over the dam, however these closures are not expected to exceed 15 minutes at a time.

A barge mounted drill rig may also be spotted on El Vado Reservoir beginning around October 20. The barge is part of a sediment sampling survey being conducted at the reservoir. The drill rig will be moved around the reservoir to take samples at 12 locations. This work is expected to last about one month. The sampling is not expected to impact recreation in any way. The boat ramp at El Vado remains closed due to low water levels.

Both activities are part of a process El Vado Dam is undergoing through the Bureau of Reclamation’s Safety of Dams Program. El Vado Dam is undergoing a Corrective Action Study under which Reclamation is analyzing the current state of the dam and looking at various alternatives for future maintenance of the dam. Although El Vado Dam continues to perform well, Reclamation is looking for options to minimize seepage and internal erosion through the dam to keep the dam safely operating into the future. El Vado Dam was built by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District in 1934-35 and rehabilitated by Reclamation in 1954-1955 to allow for increased capacity to by-pass additional San Juan-Chama Project water.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at https://www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.