Dam Safety Quarterly: Upcoming Dam Safety Webinar, Dam Safety Engineer List Update, and New Inspection Condition Rating Definitions

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July 2021

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We encourage you to check out the following links:

1.Registration for Free Dam Safety Webinar

2.Dam Safety Engineer Firm List Update 

dam safety webinar

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board Dam Safety Program is pleased to invite you to  a free webinar on Wednesday, August 11, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. CST.

In the webinar representatives from the OWRB and Freese and Nichols will discuss the dam inspection process, dam condition assessment definitions, and hydraulic adequacy of dams. OWRB staff will also provide information about available funding opportunities for eligible dam improvement projects.

** 1 Professional Development Hour (PDH) is available for the completion of this course **

register here


The OWRB is currently conducting an update to the dam safety engineering firm list. The new engineering firm list will only consist of the engineering firms that respond to this update or the update from the previous newsletter. 


If you would like your engineering firm included on the OWRB's dam safety engineering firm list please click here.

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A dam safety deficiency is defined as a load capacity limit or other issue that can result in a failure of the dam or appurtenant structure. It is a characteristic or condition that does not meet the applicable minimum regulatory criteria.

Normal operations are defined as loading on the dam resulting from day-to-day pool operations to achieve authorized purposes in accordance with minimum state or federal regulatory criteria.

Condition Assessment definitions, as accepted by the National Dam Safety Review Board, are as follows:


No existing or potential dam safety deficiencies are recognized. Acceptable performance is expected under all loading conditions (static, hydrologic, seismic) in accordance with the minimum applicable state or federal regulatory criteria or tolerable risk guidelines.

Typical Circumstances:

  • No existing deficiencies or potentially unsafe conditions are recognized, with the exception of minor operational and maintenance items that require attention.
  • Safe performance is expected under all loading conditions including the design earthquake and design flood.
  • Permanent risk reduction measures (reservoir restrictions, spillway modifications, operating procedures, etc) have been implemented to eliminate identified deficiencies.


No existing dam safety deficiencies are recognized for normal operating conditions. Rare or extreme hydrologic and/or seismic events may result in a dam safety deficiency. Risk may be in the range to take further action. Note: Rare or extreme event is defined by the regulatory agency based on their minimum applicable state or federal criteria.

Other Circumstances:

  • Lack of maintenance requires attention to prevent developing safety concerns.
  • Maintenance conditions may exist that require remedial action greater than routine work and/or secondary studies or investigations.
  • Interim or permanent risk reduction measures may be under consideration.


A dam safety deficiency is recognized for normal operating conditions which may realistically occur. Remedial action is necessary. POOR may also be used when uncertainties exist as to critical analysis parameters which identify a potential dam safety deficiency. Investigations and studies are necessary.

Other Circumstances:

  • Dam has multiple deficiencies or a significant deficiency that requires remedial work.
  • Lack of maintenance (erosion, sinkholes, settlement, cracking, unwanted vegetation, animal burrows, inoperable outlet gates) has affected the integrity or the operation of the dam under normal operational conditions and requires remedial action to resolve.
  • Critical design information is needed to evaluate the potential performance of the dam. For example, a field observation or a review of the dam’s performance history has identified a question that can only be answered by review of the design and construction history for the dam. Uncertainty arises when there is no design and/or construction documentation available for review and additional analysis is needed to better understand the risk associated with operation under normal operational conditions.
  • Interim or permanent risk reduction measures may be under consideration.


A dam safety deficiency is recognized that requires immediate or emergency remedial action for problem resolution.

Typical Circumstances:

  • A critical component of the dam has deteriorated to unacceptable condition or failed.
  • A safety inspection indicates major structural distress (excessive uncontrolled seepage, cracks, slides, sinkholes, severe deterioration, etc.), advanced deterioration, or operational deficiencies which could lead to failure of the dam or its appurtenant structures under normal operating conditions.
  • Reservoir restrictions or other interim risk reduction measures are required.
  • A partial or complete reservoir drawdown may be mandated by the state or federal regulatory agency.


The ASDSO annual Dam Safety Conference will be held in Nashville, TN on September 12-15. Click below for registration information!