By Huntington District Public Affairs StaffOctober 23, 2017
The Bolivar Dam rehabilitation project was completed 18 months ahead of schedule and $17 million under budget. The Huntington District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the occasion with its partners and stakeholders.
Congressman Bob Gibbs of the Ohio 7th District, gave the keynote address.
The $92 million project included construction of a seepage barrier 3 feet wide and 150 feet deep along the length of the 4,500-foot dam and replacement of the six service gates in the control structure. The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District was the local partner in the project, contributing a little more than $10 million to the total cost.
Bolivar Dam construction was completed in September 1938 as one of a system of dams designed to provide flood control and water conservation in the Muskingum Watershed in Ohio. The dam is a rolled earth-fill dam with an impervious clay core founded on glacial outwash material. The maximum height of the dam is 87 feet, with a crest length of 6,300 feet and a crest elevation of 985.5 feet. The project has an uncontrolled saddle type spillway at the left abutment with a crest length of 540 feet and a crest elevation of 962.0 feet. The project has an intake structure containing six 7 feet by 15 feet sluice gates discharging through two 16 feet by 16 feet horseshoe shaped tunnels. The project also consists of the Magnolia Levee to protect the residents of the Town of Magnolia, and two industrial levees. The drainage area upstream of the dam is 504 square miles. Bolivar Dam is considered a "dry dam", meaning that it does not retain a normal upstream pool unless required for flood risk management during rain events.
The Major Rehabilitation Project at Bolivar consisted of a series of risk-reduction measures, including an impervious seepage barrier, seepage blanket augmentation, service gate replacement and instrumentation contracts. Measures were implemented to substantially reduce seepage beneath the dam during high water events, ensure the project is able to control the release of water as intended, and to allow for continued monitoring of the dam during high water events.
The culmination of the Major Rehabilitation efforts were presented to the Dam Senior Oversight Group (DSOG), resulting in a recommendation to reclassify Bolivar to a Dam Safety Action Classification (DSAC) 5 - Normal (Safe), the first dam in Huntington District to receive this classification. "There are 714 dams in the Corps of Engineers portfolio," said Col. Philip M. Secrist III, commander of the Huntington District. "Only four of those flood-management risk dams are classified as DSAC 5 right now." There are over 80 dams in the Great Lakes and Ohio River division, which Huntington is part of. None of those are currently classified as DSAC 5. So you're really experiencing and seeing something that's unique." Bolivar dam reduces flood risk to more than 28,000 people.