COVINGTON, Va – The Norfolk District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) conducted a semi-annual inspection of the Gathright Dam on May 10-14 as part of the District's comprehensive dam safety program ahead of yearly pulse releases scheduled to begin in June.
The inspection team, which consisted of geotechnical, structural, mechanical and electrical engineers from the Norfolk District performed a primarily visual inspection of the major dam safety components.
“The dam continues to perform as intended with the staff taking great care to maintain and operate safely” said Trent Elder, Gathright Dam project engineer.
In addition to the semi-annual inspection, project personnel participated in mandatory dam safety training.
“Project personnel are the first-line defense to an emergency,” said Elder. “Conducting reoccurring dam safety training stresses the importance of daily inspections and visual observations.”
The inspection and dam safety training comes ahead of the first pulse release of the year, which is scheduled for June. The pulses, conducted by Norfolk District in coordination with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, generally take place between 6 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on scheduled days and increase Jackson River levels from 3 to 4.5 feet.
The 2021 pulse dates are set for the following days:
Dates are subject to change based on weather conditions and rainfall. For updates, refer to https://www.nao-wc.usace.army.mil/nao/projected_Q.html
Pulse releases, which began in 2011, are designed to improve aquatic habitat and water quality in the Lower Jackson River. Monitoring data has shown the increased flow scours excess algae downstream and strengthens the river’s health.
As part of Norfolk District's comprehensive dam safety program, Gathright Dam has been inspected and monitored closely since it became operational in 1979. The Gathright Dam and Lake Moomaw Project provides flood protection of industrial, commercial and residential properties along the Jackson and James rivers with immediate impact on Covington, Virginia.
For more information about the Norfolk District, visit us at https://www.nao.usace.army.mil/