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Living with Dams: Extreme Rainfall Events | 2015

| 17

1. Regular and thorough


Periodic Safety Inspections-

Formal and systematic visual

inspections by owner/operator

or representative to review all

components of the dam including

equipment. The inspection report

should be written and include

photos and any other available

records. Frequency of inspections

should be based on size, condition,

and dam hazard classification.

Inspections should be conducted a

minimum of once per year.

Technical Inspections-

These inspections are performed

by a qualified professional

engineer, and may include the

detailed investigations of identified

problems, stability and hydrologic

analyses, and review for compliance

with current State dam safety


Frequency of technical

inspections may be dictated by

State regulation and dam hazard


Monitoring Inspections-

These inspections are informal on-

site visits to visually check for any

warning signs of structural distress

or spillway problems. The frequency

of monitoring inspections could

be as often as daily. At a minimum,

they should be conducted weekly.

Monitoring inspections are

critical before, during and after

extreme rainfall events.

2. Proper operation and


An efficient Maintenance Program

will help protect a dam against

deterioration and prolong its

safe operational life. A properly

maintained dam minimizes the

likelihood of failure. Subsequently,

maintenance is a task which should

never be neglected. The financial

costs associated with a proper

maintenance program are relatively

small compared to the significant

cost of major repairs or even the

disastrous consequences of a dam

failure. This is the “pay me now or

pay me later” concept. Therefore,

a dam owner should develop a

basic maintenance program based

primarily on regular and thorough


Inspections are critical but,

alone, are not enough.

Key elements in an owner’s dam safety programwould include the following: