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Big Creek Lake Dam Evaluation

Maintaining reliable access to a reservoir’s critical water supply

  • $3.1M

    Project Value

  • 75

    Feet High

  • 5K

    Foot-long Embankment

  • Mobile, Alabama

    Mobile, Alabama

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. 

At a Glance

  • Mobile Area Water & Sewer System
Meet Our Team

Daniel Gilbert, Vice President, Regional Business Leader, Water (US Southeast, Gulf & South Central)

Whether it is preserving our water supply or another critical challenge, I am excited for every opportunity to have a positive impact.
Daniel Gilbert Vice President, Regional Business Leader, Water (US Southeast, Gulf & South Central) Read More

April Welshans, Principal

I enjoy geotech because it gives you the ability to think for yourself—there isn’t a cookbook, so you really have to make it your own.

Alan Rauch, Vice President, Discipline Lead, Water (Geotechnical)

I am immensely satisfied when our technical knowledge and hard-earned experience lead to elegant solutions for complex problems.
Alan Rauch Vice President, Discipline Lead, Water (Geotechnical) Read More

Michelle Meehan, Senior Project Engineer

I enjoy learning something new from each project that I work on and each person that I work with.

Robert Hatton, Project Manager

I am passionate about bringing creative solutions to my clients’ unique challenges.

Jon Keeling, Senior Principal

Yes, I’m a dam engineer, and proud of it! I strive to keep public safety paramount in everything I do as a dam safety engineer.

Daniel Gilbert

Vice President, Regional Business Leader, Water (US Southeast, Gulf & South Central)

April Welshans


Alan Rauch

Vice President, Discipline Lead, Water (Geotechnical)

Michelle Meehan

Senior Project Engineer

Robert Hatton

Project Manager

Jon Keeling

Senior Principal

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