According to the ASCE 2013 Report Card, the average age of the more than 84,000 documented dams across the country is 52 years old. Many exceeding their design life span of 50 years. The nation’s dams are only continuing to age, and the number of high hazard dams are increasing due to increased urbanization. The number of deficient dams across the nation is estimated to be near 4,000. 2,000 of those are considered high hazard dams. The investment to bring this infrastructure back to standards is estimated to be $21 million.
Mississippi has 274 high hazard dams. The State Dam Safety Program includes 4 full-time employees to oversee 3,823 state-regulated dams. This program could clearly benefit for new approaches for inspecting and surveying dams.
The objective for the Okhissa Lake Dam project is to develop a preliminary, portable monitoring system to monitor pore water levels and pressures, record real-time data, and establish warning levels for each piezometer well. This will provide a real time warning system associated with uplift pressures on the toe of the dam.