The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Friday, 12 April 2019 01:00cat

Safety works to initiate at California's Boca Dam

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Boca dam in California Boca dam in California

Officials from the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Reclamation have decided to implement safety works at Boca Dam in California that will meliorate its performance during potentially big earthquakes.

Boca is an earth-filled dam that is located in the Little Truckee River creating Boca Reservoir in Nevada County, California. It is owned by Bureau of Reclamation and is operated-maintained by the Washoe County Water Conservation District.

The 35-meter dam was completed in 1939. The artificially created reservoir is utilized for many causes including providing water for irrigation, generating power and creating supplies for drought periods.

According to detailed investigation conducted by civil engineers from the Bureau of Reclamation, the dam is at risk of structural failure during an intense earthquake. The risk is caused due to sand and gravel that have penetrated the structure's foundation. For this reason, the Safety of Dams Act demanded to mitigate the potential hazard within the acceptable limits. "Safety is a top priority for Reclamation. Through our Safety of Dams program, we are correcting seismic risks at Boca Dam," Terri Edwards, Lahontan Basin Area office manager, stated.

The safety works will initiate in May, 2019 and will end in October, 2020. In order to facilitate the construction works, the reservoir will operate at about 50% of its full capacity. 

The total cost of the project will reach $19.7 million. During reconstruction phase, sand and gravel will be removed from the foundation and an embankment will be constructed on the downstream face to stabilize the dam. The dam's crest will be elongated by 7,6 meters with a reinforce concrete road surface and the spillway will be modified in order to withstand heavy seismic loads.



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