An Integrated Approach to Dam Safety

Expertise in performance-based engineering, risk analysis, software monitoring systems and FERC regulations.

Each of us relies on dams to generate hydroelectric power, manage our water supplies, and protect us from flooding. Today, many of our dams and levees are aging and safety is more important than ever. To meet these challenges, GeoEngineers offers comprehensive dam safety services to help our clients accomplish their safety goals.

Our team’s strength stems from experience in four interconnected technical areas: seismic and soil liquefaction risk analysis, FERC compliance, performance-based engineering and data management and monitoring. By considering our client’s challenges from each angle, we are able to provide integrated solutions to the safety challenges facing dam and levee operators.

Performance-Based Engineering Approach

GeoEngineers’ dam safety team often uses a performance-based engineering approach instead of the traditional safety-factor analysis when recommending or designing upgrades. Instead of using historical data, we model the performance of structures under a variety of real-world loads and conditions. By grounding the analyses in predictive performance data, we can evaluate risk factors over the entire life cycle of a structure. Once dam owners are armed with estimates of annual probability of failure for a given structure, they can make better-informed decisions on how to lower risk and improve resiliency.

Seismic and Soil Liquefaction Experience

Our team has a wealth of experience with soft ground sites in high seismic regions, including seismic designs for many dam, levee and waterfront projects with soil liquefaction potential. We understand the nuances of soil-structure interactions that are vital for earth-retaining and embedded structures, and ground failure evaluations. When necessary, we also have experience with advanced numerical modeling techniques to give us deeper predictive insight into how a structure might react to specific stressors.

FERC Expertise

We have been providing dam safety consulting since 1986, and often serve as the FERC-approved Independent Dam Safety Consultant (IDSC) for dams and levees. Senior Principal Gordon Denby has been a FERC-approved Dam Safety Part 12 independent consultant since 2002. As a member of the United States Society of Dams, Association of State Dam Officials, and American Society of Civil Engineers, we regularly attend the regional and national meetings and present papers at conferences on dam safety and design.

Earth Analytics Software Solutions

In close collaboration with GeoEngineers’ dam safety engineers, our software development team has developed Earth Analytics™, a software solution to help dam safety operators meet real life safety and monitoring goals on any size or type of structure. Earth Analytics is a technology and science platform built to manage critical-asset instrumentation data, and meet the demanding state and local compliance reporting requirements. This online, hosted solution allows operations and maintenance staff to access and store dam instrument readings from both traditional data loggers and wireless instruments through a user-role-based security model. Facility staff can now visualize and analyze data in ways that have traditionally required a high degree of subject-matter expertise and additional time to produce.

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