Guist Creek Dam Spillway Upgrade: A Maze (Labyrinth) of Difficulties

by David C. Froehlich, (M.ASCE),
Michael A. Woolum,
W. Keith Crim,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


Any dam that holds back a large quantity of water is potentially dangerous. Some dams are more of a threat than others, especially those with human populations and valuable property in downstream areas that would be inundated by a catastrophic flood. Although the probability of failure cannot be eliminated (unless the dam is removed, of course), dam owners are legally and morally obligated to protect downstream residents and their property from unacceptably large risks. In the United States and many other countries owners of high hazard dams (that is, dams that would endanger human lives or cause tremendous property damage) are compelled to provide spiliways that safely convey the probable maximum flood (PMF) (Evaluation procedures, 1988; Lafitte, 1992). Economic approaches to design flood selection consisting of finding the optimal spiliway size based on overall cost are allowed only if no chance of human fatalities from a dam failure exists.

Subject Headings: Dam failures | Floods | Spillways | Failure analysis | Dams | Probability | Owners | United States

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