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The successful design, construction, and operation of a reservoir project over the full range of loading require a comprehensive site characterization, a detailed design of each feature, construction supervision, measurement and monitoring of the performance, and the continuous evaluation of the project features during operation. The design and construction of earth and rock-fill dams are complex because of the nature of the varying foundation conditions and range of properties of the materials available for use in the embankment. The first step is to conduct detailed geological and subsurface explorations, which characterize the foundation, abutments, and potential borrow areas. The next step is to conduct a study of the type and physical properties of materials to be placed in the embankment. This study should include a determination of quantities and the sequence in which they will become available. The design should include all of the studies, testing, analyses, and evaluations to ensure that the embankment meets all technical criteria and the requirements of a dam as outlined in b below. Construction supervision, management, and monitoring of the embankment and appurtenant structures are a critical part of the overall project management plan. Once the project is placed into operation, observations, surveillance, inspections, and continuing evaluation are required to assure the satisfactory performance of the dam.
 
Basic requirements of an embankment dam

Dams are a critical and essential part of the Nation’s infrastructure for the storage and management of water in watersheds. To meet the dam safety requirements, the design, construction, operation, and modification of an embankment dam must comply with the following technical and administrative requirements:
(1) Technical requirements

• The dam, foundation, and abutments must be stable under all static and dynamic loading conditions.
• Seepage through the foundation, abutments, and embankment must be controlled and collected to ensure safe operation. The intent is to prevent excessive uplift pressures, piping of materials, sloughing removal of material by solution, or erosion of this material into cracks, joints, and cavities. In addition, the project purpose may impose a limitation on allowable quantity of seepage. The design should include seepage control measures such as foundation cutoffs, adequate and nonbrittle impervious zones, transition zones, drainage material and blankets, upstream impervious blankets, adequate core contact area, and relief wells.
• The freeboard must be sufficient to prevent overtopping by waves and include an allowance for settlement of the foundation and embankment.
• The spillway and outlet capacity must be sufficient to prevent over-topping of the embankment by the reservoir.
(2) Administrative requirements
 
• Environmental responsibility.
• Operation and maintenance manual.
• Monitoring and surveillance plan.
• Adequate instrumentation to monitor performance.
• Documentation of all the design, construction, and operational records.
• Emergency Action Plan: Identification, notification, and response subplan.
• Schedule for periodic inspections, comprehensive review, evaluation, and modifications as appropriate.

Embankment
 
Many different trial sections for the zoning of an embankment should be prepared to study utilization of fill materials; the influence of variations in types, quantities, or sequences of availability of various fill materials; and the relative merits of various sections and the influence of foundation condition. Although procedures for stability analyses afford a convenient means for comparing various trial sections and the influence of foundation conditions, final selection of the type of embankment and final design of the embankment are based, to a large extent, upon experience and judgment.
 
Features of design
 
Major features of design are required foundation treatment, abutment stability, seepage conditions, stability of slopes adjacent to control structure approach channels and stilling basins, stability of reservoir slopes, and ability of the reservoir to retain the water stored. These features should be studied with reference to field conditions and to various alternatives before initiating detailed stability or seepage analyses.
 
Other considerations
 
Other design considerations include the influence of climate, which governs the length of the construction season and affects decisions on the type of fill material to be used, the relationship of the width of the valley and its influence on river diversion and type of dam, the planned utilization of the project (for example, whether the embankment will have a permanent pool or be used for short-term storage), the influence of valley configuration and topographic features on wave action and required slope protection, the seismic activity of the area, and the effect of construction on the environment.








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