Lessons Learned

Hazardous hydraulic conditions, such as hydraulic rollers, can occur at dams of all sizes.

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High and significant hazard dams should be designed to pass an appropriate design flood. Dams constructed prior to the availability of extreme rainfall data should be assessed to make sure they have adequate spillway capacity.

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Intervention can stop or minimize consequences of a dam failure. Warning signs should not be ignored.

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Many earth-cut spillways have been constructed in erodible material that can result in unsatisfactory performance and breaching of the spillway. The integrity of all earth-cut auxiliary spillways should be evaluated to ensure that the design storm can be safely passed.

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Regular operation, maintenance, and inspection of dams is important to the early detection and prevention of dam failure.

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Seepage along penetrations through embankment dams should be controlled using a filter diaphragm instead of anti-seep collars.

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Site security is a critical aspect of dam safety that shouldn’t be overlooked or disregarded.

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Stability of the dam foundation and other geologic features must be considered during dam design.

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The first filling of a reservoir should be planned, controlled, and monitored.

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The hazard classification of a dam can change over time (hazard creep).

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