work underway on a water-discharge structure we designed for poor soil conditions
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removal of the Orienta Dam

removal of the Orienta Dam
client
Xcel Energy
location
Wisconsin

damaged dam replaced with fish and lamprey barrier

Constructed in the early 1920s as a hydropower facility on the Iron River, the 50-foot-high Orienta Dam operated until 1985, when a heavy rainfall accumulated debris on the spillway, causing the dam to be overtopped. This resulted in failure of the left earthen embankment. In 2001, Xcel Energy received an abandonment permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Before razing the dam, Xcel retained Barr to perform the mapping and sediment testing required by the Wisconsin DNR, which used the test results to assess potential risk to aquatic spawning beds in Lake Superior, one mile downstream from the dam. We designed the removal procedure for the existing dam as well as a new concrete fish and lamprey barrier to be constructed in its place. The lamprey barrier design was coordinated with the DNR. We also prepared detailed plans and technical specifications and provided construction observation and management services.