Helping a city utility improve dam safety
Big Creek Lake is the main water supply and a critical asset for the city of Mobile, Alabama. Operated by the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System (MAWSS), the reservoir is impounded by a mile long, earthen embankment dam. MAWSS hired our team to assess the existing condition of the facility, identify proactive operations and maintenance activities, design spillway gate improvements, and improve the overall dam safety program—all while being budget conscious.
Dividing the project into two phases, we updated the engineering assessment and helped MAWSS implement a formal dam safety program in Phase 1. Focused engineering services were performed in Phase 2 to address data gaps and dam improvements. Our team designed new, automated hoists for seven tainter gates in the dam’s chute spillway. The existing gates were modernized with seven independently controlled, torque-tube wire rope hoists. The gates can now be manually or remotely operated on-site, from a new control building, or from MAWSS’ office. We also provided additional ancillary services to support MAWSS’ dam safety program, including monthly inspection data review, annual instrumentation assessments, and a five-year formal inspection of the dam and spillway.
With the project now complete—on time and on budget—the city of Mobile will be able to rely on Big Creek Lake’s water supply for years to come.
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