Lessons Learned

Earth and rockfill embankment dams must be stable under the full range of anticipated loading conditions.

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Emergency Action Plans can save lives and must be updated, understood, and practiced regularly to be effective.

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Extreme floods do occur.

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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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High and significant hazard embankment dams should have internal filter and seepage collection systems.

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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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