Dam engineering

Barr has more than five decades of dam engineering experience from planning through final design and construction. This includes more than 2,000 dam projects in the last two decades involving inspections, evaluations, feasibility studies, licensing, and permitting for federal and state agencies, municipalities, power and mining companies, and private clients.

We have nearly 100 dam-engineering professionals who work regularly on dam inspection, evaluation, and design with backgrounds in civil, structural, geotechnical, mechanical, electrical, and hydraulic engineering, as well as hydrologists, wetlands specialists, fisheries biologists, botanists, and environmental scientists. Our dam project work has included spillways, earth embankments, tailings dams, cofferdams, roller-compacted and mass concrete dams, Ambursen dams, pumped hydro storage facilities, fish barriers, and dam removal and repurposing.

Barr’s geotechnical team specializes in stability and seepage modeling, in-situ instrumentation, internal erosion and static liquefaction evaluations, grouting, seepage barriers, earth embankment and tailings dam design, embankment drain design, embankment stabilization, and soil dynamics and earthquake engineering. We’ve performed dam hydrologic and hydraulic analysis, including probable maximum flood studies, dam break analyses, inundation mapping, dam hazard assessments, risk assessments, field verification of properties and impacts, 2D and 3D hydraulic modeling to estimate flow velocities, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD modeling). Barr has also identified population at risk from dam break events; developed and updated Emergency Action Plans (EAPs); and led or supported EAP desktop and functional exercises. In addition, our engineers have extensive experience in inspection, analysis, and design of spillways, gates, hoists, gate heating and de-icing systems, penstocks, and rock anchor stabilization, as well as dam stability and stress analyses. 

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