Dam Safety Inspections: When Was Your Dam Last Inspected?
Dams are critical components of our infrastructure, as they provide flood protection, water supply reservoirs, hydroelectric power, irrigation, and recreation. With more than 85,000 dams in the United States, with an average age more than 53 years, dam safety is important for the security and well-being of the communities they support.
Annual Dam Inspections
FCE performs many annual dam safety inspections, one of which is for the Longford Lake Dam in Silver Lake Township, Susquehanna County, PA. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) file research is first initiated to review any previous reports through DEP that provide background information and past data, for purposes of comparison. A field inspection is then carried out to evaluate current conditions and any changes from the prior year.
The DEP Bureau of Waterways Engineering provides the checklist we use to complete inspections.
Factors and areas we investigate and inspect include:
- Surface cracking
- Sinkholes/animal burrows
- Vegetation condition
- Embankment areas
- Downstream areas
- Outlet works
The intent of the site visit is to thoroughly photograph existing conditions of the property and surrounding uses that may impact future conditions of the dam and its safety. A thorough report with observation evidence and results is then submitted to DEP.
Other annual dam inspections carried out by FCE include Deer Creek in Hopewell Township, the York Boy Scout Council’s Camp Tuckahoe Dam, and New Birth of Freedom Hidden Valley Dam.
Over time, many factors such as wind, weather, general erosion and material failure can contribute to the weakening and ultimate failure of a dam or its components. FCE also provides services to design, re-design or repair dams and embankments, perform topographic and as-built surveys. We can also provide construction specifications and project oversight.
Do you have questions about dam inspections, or do you need to schedule an annual inspection? Let us know how we can help.