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Improving a High Hazard Dam’s Safety with Difficult Site Access

Clifton Forge Dam is a high‐hazard potential concrete gravity dam located in western Virginia that provides municipal water supply to the Town of Clifton Forge and its surrounding service area. The Town has a population of nearly 4,000 and sits directly in the path of a hypothetical floodwave should the dam fail. Due to inadequate […]


Dam Breach and Emergency Action Planning: Selecting the Right Models

This presentation will consider two dam breach studies developed in 2020 for Prince George’s County, Maryland as part of the Emergency Action Planning (EAP) process. We will provide an overview of the goals of each study and the unique challenges and constraints at each site to determine Population at Risk (PAR). We will review common […]


How to Drain an Impoundment – Design, Repair and Replacement

The Virginia Impounding Structure Regulations (Regulations) require that low-level outlet systems in existing dams be kept operational. For dams built without low-level outlet systems, the Regulations stipulate that low-level outlet systems be retrofitted when practicable. In December 2020, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board published a new […]


Brighton Dam Rehabilitation

The Brighton Dam is a concrete slab and buttress dam that has been in continual service for over 75 years.  Over those years, the dam developed a number of deficiencies that resulted in a reduction of the safety of the dam and increased difficulties in operation of the dam to its full capacity. These deficiencies […]


The Applicability of Filter Compatibility Evaluation Procedures for Existing Embankment Dams – Hearthstone Lake Dam Case Study and General Evaluation and Design Considerations

Hearthstone Lake Dam was constructed in the mid-1960s in Augusta County, Virginia, under the administration of the NRCS. The dam, which is classified as a high hazard structure by the VA DCR and the NRCS, is located on US Forest Service property but is owned and maintained by the Headwaters SWCD and Augusta County. The […]


Dam Risk Reduction

In Virginia alone, there are 2,900 dams ranging from farm ponds to large reservoirs providing hydroelectric power and water supply.  Approximately 360 of these dams are classified as potentially high hazard where failure would result in probable loss of life or serous economic damage. For dams where potential failure modes have been identified to have […]


Flood Watch Monitoring and Observations for a High Hazard Dam – a Microsoft O365 Solution

A ‘High Hazard’ dam has the potential to cause loss of human life or damage to critical infrastructure if there were to be  a failure of the structure.  These structures require regular monitoring and specific observations during flood watch alerts and other high-risk events per the Virginia Dam Safety Act and outlined in the required […]


Dam Inspections – More than Filling Out a Form Once a Year

DCR Dam Safety requires annual inspections of all regulated dams.  Whether the inspection is by the owner or the engineer, this is more than filling out a form.  The observations pertaining to maintenance, access, seepage, settlement, etc. can be indicators of larger changes that are occurring at the dam, riser, or outfall.  Dam inspections are […]


Design Approach for Repair of Small Dams with Piping Failures

Fairfax County’s robust BMP inspection program has recently identified piping failures on several of their older, publicly maintained dry pond facilities.  A failing dam is a high priority maintenance issue and requires expedited measures to restore safety and functionality to the facility.  This presentation will cover the overall process, from piping failure identification, to project […]