Emergency Action Planning



About EAPS

About EAPs

Samples of Typical Dam Problems and Failures

Contrary to popular belief:
Most dam failure fatalities are not the result of large dams failing. They are the result of small dam failures. Dam Failures resulting in fatalities:

  • 86% of the fatalities resulted from dams between 20 and 49 feet in height
  • 47% of the fatalities resulted from dams with a drainage area less than 2 square miles
  • 75% of the fatalities resulted from dams with a drainage area less than 10 square miles
  • 7 dams had less than 300 acre-feet of reservoir storage area

This description fits many of Georgia dams. What is your dam's height and storage?

Several factors influence loss of life from dam failures, and an Emergency Action Plan takes into account and attempts to address each of these:

  • Number of people at risk
  • Flood depths and velocities
  • Time of day or time of year
  • Ease of Evacuation
  • Timeliness of warnings

Dam failures

A complete dam failure is a nightmare for people, property and the environment. Regular dam inspections and maintenance, and creating an EAP, can help avert and mitigate such nightmare situations.

Kelly Barnes Dam, Georgia <br>
                    • 40 foot high dam: 630 acre-feet storage volume<br>
                    • failed 1:20 a.m. November 6, 1977<br>
                    • 9 homes, 18 trailers, 2 college dorms demolished and 39 dead Laurel Run Dam, Pennsylvania <br>
                    • 42 foot high dam; 310 acre-feet storage volume<br>
                    • failed at 2:35 a.m. July 20, 1977 <br>
                    • 30 homes suffered major damage, 40 fatalities Timberlake Dam, Virginia <br>
                    • 33 foot high dam:  1,449 acre-feet storage Volume<br>
                    • failed 11 p.m. June 22, 1995<br>
                    • 2 fatalities Koloko Dam, Hawaii <br>
                    • 44 foot high dam:  1,400 acre-feet storage volume<br>
                    • failed 5:30 a.m. March 14, 2006<br>
                    • 7 fatalities

Dam problems that can lead to failure

These photos illustrate many of the types of dam "incidents" that can rapidly become dam emergencies and trigger an Emergency Action Plan if not addressed by the dam owner soon enough. Dam owners, neighbors, or passers-by who see these types of problems at a dam should contact the state dam safety officials immediately.

Inadequate Spillway Spillway pipe failure creates sinkhole Fences in Spillways Blockage across Spillways Erosion Erosion from Spillway Pipe Failure Undermining Cracking Spalling and disintegration of concrete Erosion around inlet Debris in inlet Vegetation around inlet Outlet pipe deterioration Damaged members Inoperable outlet gate Rusted valve