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Dam Safety & Security

FERC releases revision to hydro security program

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has released a new version of its Security Program for Hydropower Projects.

This 72-page document, released in June 2009, provides guidance to FERC licensees and to commission staff in executing the security program. FERC created the original program in November 2001, in response to terrorist attacks on the U.S. The program assigns all dams under FERC's jurisdiction to one of three security groups, with specific requirements designated for each group. It defines requirements for vulnerability assessments, security assessments, and security plans for each of the three groups.

The security groups are based on potential dam hazard classification, project size, potential consequences, and installed generating capacity. Security Group 1 dams are inspected with a high level of scrutiny by FERC. Security Group 2 dams are inspected by FERC engineers at a high level of awareness, consistent with the potential threat level. Security Group 3 dams are inspected by FERC engineers as the dams come up for scheduled dam safety inspections, from one to three years.

Changes to this new version were made as a result of comments and recommendations received from licensees and other agencies.

Changes include:

-- The vulnerability assessment (for a group 1 dam) is to be updated annually to confirm assumptions and reprinted on a five-year cycle. The first round is due December 31, 2010;

-- The security assessment for a group 1 dam should be incorporated into the full vulnerability assessment, rather than being a separate document;

-- The security assessment for a group 2 dam is to be updated annually to confirm assumptions. The first round is due December 31, 2010;

-- The security plan is to be updated annually or "as required"; (if less than one year) and must be redone by December 31, 2010; and

-- The security plan must be site-specific and, for group 1 dams, must be tested at least every five years.

The document is available on the Internet at: www.ferc.gov/industries/hydropower/safety/guidelines/security.asp.

USSD names new officers; presents awards, scholarships

Officers for the U.S. Society on Dams (USSD) for 2009-2010 are: Daniel J. Hertel, Barnard Construction Co., Bozeman, Mont., president; Douglas D. Boyer, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Portland, Ore., vice president; and Michael F. Rogers, MWH, San Diego, Calif., secretary-treasurer.

New board members are: Ross Boulanger, University of California, Davis, Davis, Calif., and Karen A. Knight, U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, Colo.

Officers and board members were announced at USSD's 2009 annual meeting and conference in Nashville, Tenn. About 400 engineers, managers, and scientists involved in the design, construction, operation, and safety of dams attended the conference.

During the meeting, USSD presented multiple awards:

-- Award of Excellence in the Constructed Project to Lake Lenexa Dam and Spillway in Lenexa, Kan. Lake Lenexa covers nearly 35 acres within 240 acres of parkland and is adjacent to established residential subdivisions. The $23 million project includes flood control, improved water quality through construction of wetlands, natural stream preservation and restoration, stormwater management through incorporation of porous pavement and "rain gardens,"; and recreational and educational opportunities. The award recognized: the city of Lenexa, the owner; Black & Veatch Corporation, the design engineering and construction manager; Joel Marquardt, the architect; and Max Rieke & Brothers Inc., the general contractor.

-- Scholarships to three students: Rachael V. Bisnett, a graduate student at Purdue University; Antony Berthelote, University of Montana; and David Hoekema, Boise State University. Bisnett received a $10,000 scholarship to support her research on use of loess as an embankment dam core material. Berthelote and Hoekema each received $1,000 scholarships.

-- Outstanding Paper to Patrick R. Regan, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. His paper, "An Evaluation of Dam Failure vs. Age of Dams,"; was selected based on technical content and quality and oral presentation.

-- Outstanding Poster Presentation to Jay N. Stateler and several co-authors with Reclamation. The presentation was entitled "Consequence Ratings: A Streamlined Method for Developing Loss of Life Estimates."; This is a new award, instituted at the 2009 meeting.

-- Lifetime Achievement Award to William B. Bingham, vice president and national practice leader for dams and hydraulics, Gannett Fleming Inc. Over Bingham's 40-year career in dam engineering, he has been instrumental in the development and advancement of roller-compacted concrete technologies for new and existing dams. He has played a major role in more than 15 flood control projects, 70 dam rehabilitation projects, 30 new dam design projects, 120 annual dam safety inspections, and numerous dam feasibility investigations. Bingham served as USSD president from 2001 to 2003. He has authored more than 30 technical papers and articles.

-- President's Award to Eric B. Kollgaard, who is a private consultant. Kollgaard has five decades of experience with large water resources projects. From his work on the 585-MW Brownlee and 190-MW Oxbow projects in Idaho in 1955 to his recent contributions to the project to raise the height of San Vicente Dam in California, Kollgaard has worked on more than 400 dam projects in nearly every state and on four continents. He retired from Morrison-Knudsen Corporation in 1993 and co-authored Dam Engineering in the U.S. in 1988.

FERC releases updated version of DAMSVR

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announces an updated version of its Dam Assessment Matrix for Security and Vulnerability Risk, or DAMSVR. This revision was completed so that the consequence values in DAMSVR more closely align with the national Consequence Top Screen (CTS) parameters set by the Department of Homeland Security, Dams Sector, says Frank Calcagno, senior physical infrastructure security specialist with FERC.

DAMSVR is a program designed to provide a means to uniformly assess dam vulnerability and response, Calcagno says. The program is intended to be used by physical security specialists, dam owners, dam safety engineers, and regulatory agencies, he says. DAMSVR also can be used to reassess vulnerability studies at facilities and to compare the relative risks of individual assets at separate facilities, Calcagno says.

DAMSVR was updated in June 2009 (version 2) for a number of reasons. By more closely aligning the DAMSVR consequence values with the CTS parameters, it is easier for U.S. dam owners to "go through the numbers"; using similar assumptions, Calcagno says. In addition, the value tables in the original version were broad in scope but subject to a fairly wide spectrum of interpretation. The value tables in the revised version are more detailed and should provide greater consistency between users, he says.

DAMSVR is comprised of seven working tables, Calcagno says. Table 1 allows for determination of consequences ranging from total dam failure to the damage of individual assets. The revised version uses population at risk rather than an estimation of potential human fatalities. In addition, disruption of services and economic effects are considered. Table 2 allows the user to assign a range of vulnerability values to dam assets, and Table 3 leads the user to determine how likely an attack might be due to the physical and psychological aspects of the facility. Tables 4 and 5 lead the user in determining the loss factor and target value of the assets through a matrix comparison process. This matrix then assists in identifying "critical assets."; Table 6 provides guidance on selecting the relative threat value, and Table 7 guides the user to a determination of the protection value of the on-site security specific to each asset. The results are inserted into a formula that shows relative risk for each asset considered. The method also provides a basis for an owner to prioritize individual inventories of dams and/or assets, Calcagno says.

FERC released DAMSVR in December 2003 as a result of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

DAMSVR is available for free to anyone who provides proof of "need-to-know,"; such as dam owners and security consultants. Additional information is available on the FERC website at: www.ferc.gov/industries/hydropower/safety/guidelines/security/damsvr.asp.

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