Actions Needed to Increase the Safety of Dams Built by the Bureau of Reclamation and the Corps of Engineers

CED-77-85: Published: Jun 3, 1977. Publicly Released: Jun 3, 1977.

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The site selection, design, and monitoring processes used by the Bureau of Reclamation and the Corps of Engineers during dam construction projects were examined to determine if the Bureau and Corps could significantly reduce the risk of dam failures through improved policies, procedures, and practices.

Except for the Bureau's very limited use of an independent review process during site selection, no major difference was found in Bureau and Corps procedures for selecting damsites from the standpoint of safety. During the design phase, neither the Bureau nor the Corps utilized independent consultants to review project designs and site investigations for all storage dams. Furthermore, in the past, the Bureau has not always taken steps to ensure that the intent of its designers is adequately implemented during construction. In addition, the Bureau failed to use several key monitoring and control measures to detect possible seepage in the case of the Teton Dam failure.

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