Teton Dam Case Study

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4(d) Teton Dam:
Background:
The Teton Dam was a dam on the Teton River in Idaho, United States. It was built by the United States Bureau of Reclamation, one of eight federal agencies authorized to construct dams. It was located in the eastern part of the state, between the Fremont and Madison counties.
There had been interest in building a dam in the Snake River Plain for many years. The purpose was to control spring runoff and provide a more constant water supply in the summer. This place had suffered a severe drought in 1961, followed by serious flooding in 1962. The United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) proposed the Teton Dam in 1963, and Congress passed without opposition an authorizing bill the following year. The planned dam was to be a structure 310 feet (95 m) high and 0.6 miles (1.0 km) long and create a reservoir 17 miles (27 km) in length. The impounded water would be used to generate hydroelectric power. An environmental impact statement was issued for the dam in 1971, but it did not raise the possibility of a collapse.
The main contractor for the dam was Morrison-Knudsen Co. of Boise, assisted by Peter Kiewit Sons Co. of Omaha, Nebraska. The $39 million contract was awarded in December 1971 and work began in 1972.
The Teton Dam suffered a disaster failure on June 5, 1976, as it was filling for the first time.
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Whereas employees at the dam were called to work early Saturday morning, June 5, at approximately 8:30, and in spite of the fact that two days earlier engineers at the dam observed small springs in the right abutment downstream from the toe of the dam, nevertheless, the dam collapsed completely at 11:57 AM. At the time of failure, the reservoir was almost completely full, containing 309 million m3 of water. The major part of the reservoir emptied in about 5 hours after the first observation of embankment

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