Stopping Seepage

by Virginia Fairweather, Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1987, Vol. 57, Issue 3, Pg. 44-46

Document Type: Feature article


The Navajo Dam in New Mexico has major seepage problems. The Bureau of Reclamation, which owns the Dam, conducted studies, verified by outside consultants, concluding that the combination of seepage, a jointed rock foundation and erodible core material meant the dam was in danger of failure. The solution at one abutment was a record-breaking concrete cutoff wall that will be 400 ft deep, the world's record so far. Construction is by the slurry wall method and new equipment has been developed for the unique project. At the other abutment, a similar wall was found to be too costly, and a system of drainage boreholes will be drilled from a tunnel. The cutoff wall is being constructed and due to be completed by June 1988. Contracts are due to be awarded in the spring of 1987 for the tunnel and drainage boreholes work.

Subject Headings: Core walls | Slurry walls | Dam failures | Dam foundations | Seepage | Earthfill dams | Material failures | Construction equipment | New Mexico | United States

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