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<br /> <br /> <br /> <br />3 <br />traverse rough terrain, steep slopes, remote <br />locations, and long distances. <br /> Keen observation skills. <br /> Willingness and motivation to get dirty and wet! <br /> Good documentation and report writing skills. <br />Preparing for Your Inspection <br />The inspection begins long before arriving on site. The <br />well-prepared inspector begins by becoming familiar <br />with site access, design features, construction history, <br />inspection history, and even the type of weather that <br />may be encountered during the inspection. <br />Assemble Inspection Team – Review the previous <br />inspection reports to see if an additional engineer with <br />structural, geotechnical, or hydraulic experience may <br />be needed to round out the inspection team. <br />Contact Regulatory Agency – It is worth a quick phone <br />call to the appropriate oversight agency to verify <br />regulatory requirements for inspection (such as a <br />mandatory outlet inspection or concrete condition <br />survey). <br />Review Recent Weather – Ponded water may not <br />always be a sign of potential seepage. Knowing if the <br />site has recently experienced precipitation events may <br />give the inspector important clues during the <br />inspection. <br />Review Previous Checklists – Become familiar with <br />what previous inspectors have identified, repairs that <br />have been recommended, and status of completion. <br />Review Drawings or Construction Documentation – <br />Understanding how the dam was designed or <br />constructed can help identify where potential <br />problems may exist. Note the locations of drainage <br />outlets and instrumentation. <br />Review Potential Failure Modes – Reviewing the <br />potential failure modes specific to your dam will help <br />focus your efforts on specific components of the dam. <br />Coordinate with Owner/Operator – Discuss with the <br />owner in advance any activities that can be undertaken <br />to make your inspection more efficient. Can a survey <br />be performed to evaluate differential movement or <br />settlement of structures? Does the stilling basin need <br />to be dewatered? Can the owner operate through the <br />full gate range? Do they need to notify water users of <br />an impending gate closure? What about mandatory <br />minimum releases – will someone get in hot water if <br />you temporarily dewater the stream? Request seepage <br />weirs be cleaned to collect accurate readings. Request <br />that tall grasses and vegetation be removed prior to <br />inspection. It’s a lot easier finding a crack or an animal <br />burrow when you’re not staring through 3- to 4-foot <br />tall grass (Photo 3)! <br /> <br />Photo 3: The importance of mowing before an inspection. <br />Review Instrumentation Data – Piezometers and <br />seepage weirs are the first indication that something <br />may have changed. Print out in advance a location <br />map, simple plots, and key information for each <br />piezometer to take with you. Having this information <br />available will help you during the inspection. It’s a <br />perfect opportunity to make sure that your survey <br />points haven’t walked off with the public. <br />Assemble Necessary Equipment – It is very important <br />to plan out what equipment you may need for an <br />inspection before you get there, especially if your dam <br />is remote! Equipment may include all or some of the <br />following (Photo 4): <br />Photo 4: Typical inspection equipment. <br /> Inspection form (click here for more information), <br />notebook, clipboard, pencil <br /> Camera, GPS, cell phone, rangefinder <br />Before After