As per the 2007 Canadian Dam Association (CDA) Guidelines, a dam is classified as “a barrier constructed for the retention of water, water containing any other substance, fluid waste, or tailings, provided the barrier is capable of impounding at least 30,000m3 of liquid and is at least 2.5 m in height”. How the dam is defined is also dependent upon the consequences of a failure of the structure.
Dam Safety Reviews (DSR’s) are an essential component in the regulation of existing dam structures owned by corporations, government agencies, and private owners to ensure that both the public and the environment are protected against the effects of dam failure. The regulation of these dams includes Dam Safety Management, Operation, Maintenance, Surveillance, Emergency Preparedness, Public Safety and Security.
E2K has completed DSR’s and dam evaluations on various dam facilities across Alberta using the guidelines set forth by the CDA. These projects include large publicly owned earth structures to small privately owned water retention structures. DSR’s and evaluations typically involve the review of available subsurface information, monitoring data and performance indicators such that the reviewer may establish if the structure meets the regulations. Dam evaluations involve the retrieval of soil and groundwater conditions as they relate to the stability of the dam. This is typically conducted using slope stability modeling software, detailed survey techniques, and significant engineering judgment.