DVIDS – News – USACE Chicago District Hosts Dam Safety Risk Communication Training Workshop



The Chicago District of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently hosted a Dam Safety Risk Communication training workshop for its Chicago, Seattle and Galveston Districts. Over 30 USACE staff participated in five days of panel discussions and facilitated sessions specific to each district’s area of ​​responsibility.

The virtual workshop included facilitators from the national risk communication community of practice and participants from the districts of Galveston, Chicago and Seattle. The Chicago District team members who participated were from the Dam and Geotechnical Dike Safety Section, Hydraulic and Environmental Section, Emergency Management, Planning Branch, Project Office. Wabash, Fox River Project Office, Illinois Waterway Project Office, and Public Affairs Office.

In September 2020, HQUSACE established draft guidelines for priority activities of the USACE Dam Safety Program that focus on communicating risk information to internal and external stakeholders. These activities included the development and implementation of project-specific communication plans for all high and significant risk dams, as well as a training workshop in each district to assist in the development of these plans.

The Chicago district team decided to develop a risk communication plan based on a basin approach, since its project stakeholders are generally grouped by basin. The basins include the Upper Wabash River in north-central Indiana, covering the JE Roush, Markle, Salamonie, and Mississinewa dams; the Fox River in Wisconsin covering the nine dams of Menasha, Upper Appleton, Lower Appleton, Cedars, Little Chute, Kaukauna, Rapid Croche, Little Kaukauna and DePere; the Upper Illinois River in northeastern Illinois covering Chicago Lock, TJ O’Brien and Lockport; and the Indiana Harbor and Canal Contained Disposal Facility.

“During the workshop, we focused on the plan for the Upper Wabash projects, and key members of the other basins began to develop plans for the other projects,” said Bill Rochford, project manager for safety. dams in the Chicago district. “The communications plans aim to help USACE proactively share information about dam and flood risks with key audiences and stakeholders to educate the public on why the dam was constructs, the value it provides, the risks associated with the projects and how the responsibility for those risks are shared and managed.

Bill Rochford has served as the Chicago District Dam Safety Project Manager (DSPM) since 2001, currently serving 120 days at the Geotechnical, Geology and Materials Public Works Department headquarters. But while he’s doing this, Daniel Ferris, a senior geotechnical engineer, acts as DSPM.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to replace Bill as interim DSPM for Chicago,” said Ferris. “Having this workshop at the beginning of my beginnings was a great way to be introduced to the different pools and their teams. The dam safety program in Chicago has grown so much from 2 dams to 16 since the district realignment, so it is important for the DSPM to understand what is happening through the dams in the district.

The tasks of the DSPM, defined in ER 1110-2-1156, include the coordination and implementation of the district dam safety program; review all district dam safety inspection reports; and ensure inspection staff are trained to ensure inspections identify and document critical project issues.

The members of the district dam safety program implementation team are:

John A. Groboski Jr., PE, Head, Engineering Branch
Dam Safety Officer (DSO): Overall responsibility for the successful implementation of the district dam safety program.

William A. Rochford, PE, Chief, Geotechnical – Dam and Dike Safety Section
Dam Safety Program Manager (DSPM): manages the day-to-day activities of the district dam safety program. Assign leads and ensure teams are properly trained. Maintains inspection schedules and ensures program execution is completed. Ensures reports are properly reviewed, approved, transmitted and filed. Develop the budget request.

Adam P. Borelli, PE, Operations Program Manager
Funding manager: ensuring responsible program development, budget requests and execution

Basin / Project
– Upper Wabash River, IN: Tim Flaherty
– Lower Fox River, WI: Dan Ferris
– Upper Illinois River: Joe Kissane
– Chicago Lock: Mike Haefeli
– Disposal facility confined to Indiana Port and Canal: Jan Merl
Dam Safety Coordinators: Lead the team for annual and periodic inspections, risk assessments, EAP updates, dam safety training, and emergency drills. Coordinates with project staff. Collects and analyzes project instrumentation measurements and prepares instrumentation reports.

“An effective safety program requires continuous and periodic project inspections and evaluations,” said John Groboski, head of the Engineering Branch and responsible for dam safety in the district. “The Dam Safety Program aims to ensure that dams owned and operated by the Corps do not pose unacceptable risks to people, property or the environment, with a focus on people.

As part of this effort, USACE will release a major change to the National Dam Inventory (NID). This database is a repository for all dams in the United States that USACE maintains in cooperation with FEMA and state agencies.

“The upcoming changes to the NID are to provide more information to the public to include a more detailed description of the dam, the risk characterization of the dam and the risk management actions implemented,” Rochford said. “In addition, maps of potential flood areas in the event of dam failure will now also be available for USACE dams. The new NID is expected to be made public at the end of this calendar year. ”

Date taken: 07.01.2021
Date posted: 07.01.2021 09:45
Story ID: 400190
Location: CHICAGO, Illinois, United States

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