Human Factors in the Edenville Dam Failure: On-Demand
On May 19, 2020, Edenville Dam, located in central Michigan, suddenly failed when its lake reached a historically high level, despite the dam not overtopping. When Edenville Dam failed, the resulting breach flow resulted in overtopping failure of the downstream Sanford Dam, and necessitated evacuation of about 11,000 people. While the resulting property damage was estimated to be in excess of $200 million, the evacuation was successful in preventing serious injuries and loss of life. This webinar will serve as a “Part 2” continuation of a prior ASDSO webinar, “Findings of the Independent Forensic Investigation of the Failures of Edenville and Sanford Dams, Michigan,” which presented an overview of the findings by the five-person Independent Forensic Team. This webinar will expand on the discussion of human factors contributing to these dam failures, beginning with the design and construction of the projects and continuing through the decision-making during the emergency response.
- Understanding the challenges of investigating human factors contributing to dam failures.
- Understanding the judgments and decision-making during the project history which contributed to the failures.
- Understanding the role of “luck” in the dam failures.
- Understanding the causation of the dam failures from a “game theory” perspective.
- Understanding what went right (and not so right) during the emergency decision-making and response.
Irfan Alvi, P.E.
President & Chief Engineer, Alvi Associates, Inc.
Irfan A. Alvi, PE is President & Chief Engineer of Alvi Associates, Inc. in Towson, Maryland. He has 30 years of multidisciplinary engineering experience for dams and other infrastructure, involving many hundreds of projects. His experience related to dams includes new design, rehabilitation design, inspection, nondestructive testing, forensic investigation, human factors, structural analysis, stability analysis, risk analysis, and construction management. His project involving rehabilitation of Prettyboy Dam in Maryland was the ASDSO 2010 National Rehabilitation Project of the Year. He is a member of the ASDSO Dam Failures & Incidents Committee, leads the committee’s efforts related to human factors, and presented an ASDSO webinar on human factors in 2015. He served as a member of the six-person independent forensic team which investigated the 2017 spillway incident at Oroville Dam, presented an ASDSO webinar on this investigation in 2018, and received the ASDSO Joseph Ellam President’s Award in 2018 for his work as a member of the forensic team.
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