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National Dam Safety Program Technical Seminar No. 23

Internal Evaluation Techniques for Earthen Dams

The National Dam Safety Review Board – Work Group on Dam Safety Training is pleased to announce the Twenty-Third Annual National Dam Safety Program Technical Seminar, "Internal Evaluation Techniques for Earthen Dams". The seminar will take place February 17-18, 2016, on the campus of the National Emergency Training Center (NETC) in Emmitsburg, Maryland. An important NETC policy change for this year is the firm APPLICATION CUT-OFF DATE: January 6, 2016. No applications will be accepted after this date.

Dam safety professionals have available many techniques to help evaluate the level of safety of a dam. An ideal scenario would include techniques that could present a clear and thorough picture of a dam’s condition and performance without disturbing the structure. This seminar will focus on the present day approximation to this ideal scenario by examining the state of the practice in geophysical and remote-sensing techniques for evaluating the internal condition of an earth dam.

Starting with an overview of the available techniques, the seminar will explore the fundamentals; data collection, processing, and portrayal; cost; advantages; and limitations of those techniques that have practical applications for present-day dam safety programs. The menu of techniques will include the following:

  • Non-Intrusive Techniques: Geophysics (e.g., Resistivity, Magnetic Field/AC Mapping, Self-Potential, Thermal, Microgravity, Ground Penetrating Radar, Seismic, Electromagnetics, Sonar, and Acoustic), Remote Sensing (e.g., Aerial and Satellite Imaging, Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), Lidar, and Radar), and Surface measurements and observations (, e.g., Visual Inspections, Seepage and Drain Flow Monitoring, Sedimentation basins, and Survey Monitoring).
  • Intrusive techniques: Tracers, Optical televiewers, Acoustical televiewers, Gamma-gamma loggers, Penetrometers, Self-bored instruments (e.g., pressuremeter), Electrical resistivity grids (permanent, for monitoring DC resistivity and self potential), Temperature gradient, Exploratory drilling and sampling (including Cone and Becker Penetration Testing), and drilling to install instruments (piezometer, inclinometers, etc.).

When considered beneficial, brief presentations of background topics, (e.g., the role of GIS, importance of field calibration, selection of contractors) will help place the more technical details in the proper context for the audience.

Participants should leave the seminar with an understanding of the, applicability, contraindications, and relative cost of the many geophysical and remote sensing techniques at the disposal of dam safety professionals.

The seminar is intended for dam safety professionals, bringing together inspectors, designers, consultants, owners, contractors and regulators for two days of presentations and discussions. The seminar will conclude with an open discussion period. Take advantage of this FREE invaluable training and plan now to attend!

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