Extremely heavy releases early in the summer of 2011 badly damaged parts of the dam and downstream areas.
Dave Becker, operations manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Gavins Point, says they should be done with repairs by the end of September.
“They’re really winding down now on the painting of the spillway gates and that’s been a three-year project,” Becker says. “They’ve also done a lot of other work like weld repair, replacing cables, putting new heaters on the gates so we have more gates for winter operation, things like that.”
Becker says the flood waters caused all sorts of damage that needed to be repaired — including rip-rap, the rock used to prevent shoreline erosion.
“We replaced about 75,000 tons of rip-rap on the north shore of the river,” he says. “That just went into the river during the floods. We had damage to our spillway slab and had some problem with our drains closest to the spillway gates and the frost blanket a little bit there.”
Becker says there was more serious damage to the dam then was initially thought right after the flood.
“Sometimes, you don’t figure certain things out until you get into the work and realize other things need work, too,” Becker says. “It took the assessments plus getting into the work to really fully understand what needed to be done.”
The dam released water at a rate of over 150,000 cubic feet per second for about six weeks in the summer of 2011.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton