Routine Inspections Help Ensure Dam Safety

FEBRUARY 8, 2017—Dam safety inspections are part of our commitment to ensure the safety of the public. Even with cold winter temperatures, divers were in the water last month at Boone performing visual inspections of the filter berm just downstream of the powerhouse. Capturing film with a helmet cam and in constant contact with the shore, the diver in the water is assisted by two other divers who control his air and water cables and continuously monitor his safety (see photo, immediately below). After reviewing the video, the divers reported the filter berm remains intact with little change since their last inspection.

Another part of our dam safety program includes inspections of the sluice gate and sluice tunnel every five years. The sluice gate and tunnel are located near the base of the concrete dam. When the sluice gate opens, a “rooster tail” (shown in photo at bottom) is created from the velocity in the water that drags standing water from the flip bucket (at the base of the spillway) downstream. This leaves less water to pump out so the inspector can access the sluice tunnel and downstream portion of the sluice valve for inspection. While impressive to see, this watery display is routine and is not connected to our efforts to correct the seepage in the earthen embankment.

rooster tail