Human Factors in the Oroville Dam Spillway Incident: On-Demand

Oroville Dam is the tallest dam in the United States. On February 7, 2017, a section of the concrete chute slab of the service spillway failed during spillway discharge, and several days later the emergency spillway was activated for the first time in the half-century history of the dam, resulting in rapid and severe erosion of the hillside below the emergency spillway weir, and prompting precautionary evacuation of nearly 190,000 downstream residents. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission mandated a forensic investigation of the incident. This webinar will serve as a “Part 2” continuation of a prior ASDSO webinar, “Findings of the Oroville Dam Spillway Forensic Investigation,” which presented an overview of the findings by the six-person Independent Forensic Team. It will also expand on the discussion of human, organizational, and industry factors contributing to the incident, beginning with the design of the project and continuing until the decision-making during the incident 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.

The Forensic Investigation

Oroville Dam and Spillways

The Spillway Failures and their Consequences

Review of Physical Factors Contributing to the Spillway Failures

Key Events

Human Factors Investigation Approach

Human Factors Framework & General Findings

Human Factors Detailed Findings

Review of Lessons to be Learned


On- Demand Webinar
Open to view video.
Open to view video.
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2.00 PDH credits  |  Certificate available