Dam Safety Reviews and Potential Failure Mode Analysis

Geosyntec led a team that conducted safety reviews and potential failure mode analyses reviews of four dams, three of which had suspected seismic deficiencies. Geosyntec led a team that conducted safety reviews and potential failure mode analyses reviews of four dams, three of which had suspected seismic deficiencies.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District's Dam Safety Review Project (DSRP) is provides an independent safety review and evaluation of four California dams: Anderson, Almaden, Calero, and Guadalupe. The project is comprised of two similar, yet separate components. Anderson Dam is a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) project and, as such, the district is required to commission an independent, detailed dam safety review every five years and conduct one Potential Failure Mode Analysis (PFMA) with updates thereafter.

While not under FERC jurisdiction, the district also requested PFMAs and development of Supporting Technical Information Documents (STIDs) modeled after the FERC process for Almaden, Calero, and Guadalupe dams. These dams fall under California Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD) jurisdiction, but the district wants all of their dams to be on the same level of technical understanding. The district believes performing the PFMAs on the state-regulated dams will be beneficial for planning and further execution of the dam safety program.

Geosyntec's Scope of Services

For Anderson Dam, Geosyntec updated the existing PFMA report and the STID based on a review and incorporation of numerous studies and other programs (e.g., dam instrumentation data, seismic stability evaluations, changes in operation and maintenance) that were in process during, or begun after, the previous FERC Part 12D inspection conducted in 2007. Geosyntec used these updated documents in tandem with a field inspection of the dam (including participation by district and FERC representatives) to develop the FERC Part 12D Safety Inspection Report. For Almaden, Calero, and Guadalupe dams, Geosyntec conducted document reviews, field visits, and PFMA workshops. District and DSOD input was used to develop new PFMAs and STIDs for each dam.

Notable Accomplishments

The FERC Part 12D safety review for Anderson Dam is helping the district plan out a retrofit project that will address seismic stability concerns. The PFMA workshops and STID compilation documents prepared for Almaden, Calero and Guadalupe dams are helping the district to formalize and prioritize the dam safety program for these dams, two of which are also anticipated to need some form of retrofit.

Project Overview

  • Location: Santa Clara County, California, USA
  • Client: Santa Clara Valley Water District
  • Project Practice Areas: Geotechnical
  • Type of Facility: Water Supply Dam
  • Services Provided: FERC Part 12D Dam Safety Review; Field Inspection; Potential Failure Mode Analyses Workshops; Supporting Technical Documents
  • Type of Work: Dam Safety Inspections
  • Company: Geosyntec Consultants
  • Governing Regulation: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and California Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD)
Geosyntec Consultants
Geosyntec is a consulting and engineering firm that works with private and public sector clients to address new ventures and complex problems involving our environment, natural resources, and civil infrastructure.

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