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Minneapolis-Saint Paul Post

Upcoming Post Activity

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Have you had your leakage checked?
Come learn about what techniques have been developed to help assess leakage and seepage from dams and reservoirs

Bethany Kelly and Ivan Contreras
Barr Engineering


Leakage is a major safety issue that, if left unchecked, may result in dam failure by various mechanisms. There is enormous pressure on dam operators to repair leaks without significant delays. Frequently, the need to reduce the risk of failure or control water loss has led to costly remedial repairs that are planned and executed without a complete understanding of the problem. A lack of appropriate leakage investigation and monitoring can result in repairs that are unsuccessful in controlling or reducing leakage.

In the last few decades, a series of new techniques have been developed to help in the assessment of leakage and seepage in dams. It is important to make these techniques available to the engineers responsible for dam construction and management so that they become aware of these tools. The available literature on dam leak studies is relatively limited with regard to the use of these techniques when assessing dam leakage. It is difficult to find case studies that discuss integrating the use of several of these techniques in comprehensive evaluations that lead to successful leakage mitigation. These techniques allow identification of recharge zones, preferential paths, and transit times, which aid in monitoring and mitigating the dam leakage.

The presentation includes description of the techniques and several projects in the United States and abroad involving prevention and detection of dam and reservoir leakage, including leakage evaluation, analysis, design, construction, and post-construction verification of repairs. 


Speaker Bio:  

Bethany Kelly joined Barr in 2007 with a master's degree in geological engineering from Montana Tech of the University of Montana. Her key geotechnical engineering interests include slope stability analysis and design; hydrogeologic investigation, analysis, and remediation of seepage impacting stability; liquefaction stability assessments; "special soils" (e.g., brine-impacted and contaminated); rock wall design; and geotechnical monitoring instrumentation.

Iván Contreras was born and raised in Venezuela, earned a doctorate in civil engineering (geotechnical engineering) from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and has more than 25 years of experience in geotechnical engineering on a wide variety of projects in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela. These projects range from the design of small reservoirs to the detailed design of oil-storage-tank foundations and slope stability remediation. He has designed and performed safety reviews, dam performance evaluations, construction observation, long-range planning, and comprehensive geotechnical investigations. 

Meeting Schedule and Logistics:

  • Social time and lunch (if you so desire) will be from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM in the dining room of the Officers Club.
  • The Club’s cafeteria-style lunches are typically $10.00 or less; people who partake in the cafeteria-style lunch will pay the Officers Club directly.  If you come only for the presentations, there is no charge. 
  • Post Meeting and Presentation will be from 12:30 PM to about 1:15 PM.
  • 1/2-PDH for this Presentation.



Please RSVP with your intent to either partake in the cafeteria-style lunch or to come for the presentation only; this will help the Officers Club staff to ensure that an adequate amount of food is prepared.  Either leave a voice mail message with Michelle Larson at 651-290-5632, or click the RSVP button in the left-hand column, or send an email message to


Meeting Location: 

Fort Snelling Officer's Club near Post Road.  See map at: