Dam Safety and Emergency Action Plan Development
• Chief Dam Safety Engineer – Mr. Kessler serves as the Chief Dam Safety Engineer as a consultant for Utica Power Authority. Mr. Kessler has represented UPA during inspections by FERC and DSOD, prepared the annual Dam Safety Surveillance and Monitoring Reports (DSSMRs) for UPA since 2001, served on the team performing the Part 12 Independent Consultant’s Safety Inspection Report in 2002, and has prepared plans and managed various dam maintenance repairs over this period. Mr. Kessler has also prepared comprehensive inspection checklists and standard operating procedures for the dams, and maintains and updates the Supporting Technical Information Document that serves as a reference for pertinent studies and project history. Recently, Mr. Kessler investigated the appearance of abnormal seepage below Murphys Forebay, determining the source, preparing and coordinating plans for maintenance repairs with FERC and DSOD, and preparing the construction report following completion of repairs.
• Dam Safety Surveillance and Monitoring – Mr. Kessler, as consultant to El Dorado Irrigation District, prepared the 2010 Dam Safety Surveillance and Monitoring Reports (DSSMRs) for the El Dorado Hydroelectric Project – FERC Project No. 184 dams, and for dams not under a FERC license including Weber and Sly Park Dams. Mr. Kessler is familiar with the District dams and has previously been responsible for preparing the annual DSSMRs for the dams associated with Project 184 during his tenure as the District’s Hydroelectric Department Head during 1995 – 2000, and previously with PG&E.
• Emergency Action Plans – Mr. Kessler has 18 years experience in managing and facilitating EAP Programs assessing potential flood inundation effects in consideration of a hypothetical dam failure, including managing plan improvements in coordination with Emergency Management Agencies (EMAs) to enhance protection of life and property, and conducting training and exercises. His clients include El Dorado Irrigation District, Placer County Water Agency, Merced Irrigation District and Utica Power Authority. Mr. Kessler has planned and facilitated both Tabletop and Functional Exercises for all of his clients, incorporating training and fun games into the programs to reinforce understanding of the EAP and the EMA’s roles and responsibilities. Mr. Kessler has supported EID and UPA with maintaining EAP exemption status for those dams that do no pose a hazard to downstream developments. In addition, Mr. Kessler has managed the EAP Programs in close coordination with County OES and other EMA representatives producing continuous improvement to the EAPs in the interest of promoting the highest protection of life and property.
• Time-Sensitive EAP Assessments and Public Education Programs – Mr. Kessler is supporting El Dorado Irrigation District and Utica Power Authority in the compliance of FERC’s initiative to have dam owners assess the timing involved with their Emergency Action Plans (EAPs) under a worst-case scenario whereby the dam failed during fair weather conditions without warning or detection until after the failure. For the developments that could be flooded before receiving warning and having time to evacuate, FERC requires the licensees to prepare and implement a Public Education Program. Consistent with FERC’s guidelines, the general approach to public education as documented in a plan and being facilitated by Mr. Kessler for both EID and UPA is as follows: 1) to notify residences and businesses by letter of the potential flood hazard; 2) to install warning signs at campgrounds, recreation areas and defined road and trail crossings of the potentially-affected streams and rivers within the time-sensitive reaches; and 3) to provide additional information on the agency’s websites.
• Owner’s Dam Safety Programs – In response to FERC’s recent initiative for licensees/owners of high and significant hazard dams, Mr. Kessler is preparing for both Merced Irrigation District and Utica Power Authority the Owner’s Dam Safety Program (ODSP) to demonstrate their robust and focused dam safety programs. The scope of the ODSP is broad and intended to envelope the full gamut of dam safety-related activities and plans under one comprehensive program. The ODSP includes: addressing policies and objectives of the program; responsibilities for dam safety; training; communications, coordination and reporting; record keeping; succession planning; continuous improvement; audits and assessments; and pertinenet references.
• Hydroelectric Project Standard Operating Procedures – Mr. Kessler prepared comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the dams and reservoirs, powerhouse, penstock, and canal facilities of the El Dorado Hydroelectric Project. These SOPs are unprecedented for the El Dorado Hydroelectric Project in the level of detail they describe project operations, including specifying related requirements under the FERC License and the Certificates of Approval as issued by the State Division of Safety of Dams. Mr. Kessler has also prepared SOPs for Utica Power Authority’s hydropower system.
• Dam Maintenance and Repairs – During his career, Mr. Kessler has coordinated numerous maintenance and repairs to dams under jurisction of both FERC and DSOD and has worked closely with these agency representatives to gain their trust and confidence. These include developing plans for buttressing dams to improve their stability such as Silver Lake Dam on the Silver Fork American River ,and repair of the low-level outlet at New Bullards Bar Dam on the North Fork Yuba River using saturated diving construction methods preceded by laborary hydraulic modeling of the repair alternatives to determine the most effective modification.