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Course Detail

Course: Dam Safety Guidelines

# Course: CE0098

Fee: $137.50

Credit: 5PDH


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This course reviews the federal guidelines for dam safety set forth by the U.S Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency. The course focuses on the procedures and criteria used by Federal Agencies involved in the design, construction, operation, and regulation of dams and to prepare guidelines for management procedures to ensure dam safety.

Throughout history, in all parts of the world, dams built to store water have occasionally failed and discharged the stored waters to inflict sometimes incalculable damage in the loss of lives and destruction of property. Failures have involved dams built without application of engineering principles, but have also involved dams built to what were accepted engineering standards of design and construction at the time. The technology of dams has improved with the increased knowledge of design principles and of the characteristics of foundation and dam materials. It is generally agreed that safe dams can be built and existing dams can be safely maintained with proper application of current technology. It is the intent of these guidelines to outline management practices that will help to ensure the use of the best current technology in the design, construction, and operation of new dams and in the safety evaluation of existing dams.

Although dams have been built for thousands of years, dam engineering is not an exact science and is more accurately described as an "art." It is true that this branch of engineering, like any other, draws heavily upon mathematical principles and physical laws, but every stage of the planning and execution of a dam project also requires the exercise of experienced judgment. This is true in designing and constructing new dams, and especially true in evaluating and/or improving existing dams.

This course will review design principles, construction techniques, operation and maintenance, inspection programs, and emergency action planning for dams. At the completion of this course, the student will have reviewed operational management concepts as well as construction assurance topics, and will have a better understanding of the design and construction requirements for dam safety. The student will learn that careful monitoring and quick response can prevent failures, including those caused by poor construction, deficiencies in materials, and/or construction practices. These failures can occur during all stages of construction, and constant vigilance is necessary to prevent them. The student will also learn that the basic principles of the guidelines apply to all dams but that reasonable judgments need to be made in their application commensurate with each dam’s size, complexity, and hazard.

Course Objectives:

  • Organization Management
    • Training
    • Documentation
    • Research and Development
  • Management of Technical Activities:
    • Site Investigation and Design (SID)
      • Hydrology
      • Earthquake Investigation and Design
      • Concrete Dams
      • Embankment Dams
  • Management of Technical Activities:
    • Construction (CON)
      • Evaluation
      • Construction Engineers and Field Inspectors
      • Construction Assurance
  • Management of Technical Activities:
    • Operation and Maintenance (O&M)
      • Periodic Inspection Program
      • Emergency Action Planning

Download Course Material:

CE0098 - Dam Safety Guidelines.pdf

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