Dam Safety Issues Related to Urban Detention Ponds

by James E. Alverson, (M.ASCE),

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Policy and Management: Solving the Problems


Detention ponds located within or adjacent to individual residential developments provide significant benefits by improving water quality and preventing damages from floods up to the design magnitude. In the unincorporated portion of King County, Washington, some 600 detention ponds are now in existence within residential areas, and new ones are being constructed with nearly each new land development. This paper is concerned with the level of risk that may be assumed by construction of numerous detention ponds in the absence of careful consideration of emergency spillway capacities and in the absence of programs for routine safety inspections and maintenance procedures for such dams. The need for appropriate dam safety regulations for urban detention ponds is discussed.

Subject Headings: Detention basins | Dam safety | Water quality | Urban areas | Municipal water | Urban and regional development | Floods

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