Hydraulics & Waterways

Oral

395010 - Sediment Challenges in Dam Removal

Wednesday, June 6
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: Greenway CD
Co-Authors: Joe Miller, Anchorage – HDR Engineering

Numerous dams in the United States are in need of major repairs, replacement, or removal and two of the biggest considerations are disposal of captured sediment and management of sediment balance in the downstream river system. The understanding of sediment management strategies is still developing but is being dramatically improved through experiences on major dam removal projects.
A good example of sediment management associated with aging dams is the Eklutna Dam removal project in Alaska. The Eklutna Dam is a nearly 90-year-old, 70-foot-high concrete arch dam on the Eklutna River just north of Anchorage Alaska. Sediment has filled in the entire height of the dam and has created an unusable facility that is a major impediment to native salmon migration. The Conservation Fund has partnered with the local Eklutna Tribe to remove the aging structure and restore a portion of the Eklutna River to an active salmon run.
The Eklutna Dam removal project was a pseudo design-build project and will be reviewed as an example of design and construction approaches for these types of projects. Difficult site access limited the amount and quality of data to support analysis and design. Understanding sediment impacts to downstream facilities was critical to project success and analytical approaches had to be adapted based on available data. Construction revealed several major discrepancies with sediment assumptions that ultimately impacted construction approaches. This presentation will review dam removal methods considered, difficulties with data, impacts to analyses/construction, and ongoing construction activities (including time lapse dam removal footage).

Brinton Pritchard Swift


HDR Engineering, Inc.

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