BSK: Gem Lake Dam Project

BSK: Gem Lake Dam Project.

BSK photo from helicopter.

BSK: Gem Lake Dam Project.

We are excited to announce that BSK conducted a Geotechnical Engineering Investigation for Gem Lake Dam!

Gem Lake is located on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range near June Lakes. This rural area is a hiker’s paradise with beautiful trees and lush vegetation.

Gem Lake Dam was originally built in the 1920’s and is a key element of the Rush Creek Hydroelectric System. In fact, Hydroelectric Dam Systems produce 8-12% of the nations power, making these dam systems all the more important. Additionally, this particular hydroelectric system is considered an eligible renewable energy resource! Hence, all the more reason that BSK is so proud to be a part of this project.

Part of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requirements is to have the ability to control water levels of these lakes. Thus, ensuring that in the case of a natural disaster, the public will be safe. Southern California Edison (SCE), who own the 3 dams that make up the Rush Creek hydroelectric system, is in the process of retrofitting these dams to guarantee the safety of the residents who live downstream of the dam.

How Are We Helping.

Gem Lake Dam is a reinforced concrete Arch Dam which consists of several arches. BSK’s responsibilities included the Geotechnical engineering investigation for the proposed valve replacement for Arch 8. This consists of; field exploration, laboratory testing, and engineering analysis. Basically, BSK will be assessing the condition of the soil below the new valve. Additionally, we will provide recommendations to the project designers for moving forward. Field exploration on this project began October of 2019. Site reconnaissance included geological survey, rock sampling, and ground resistivity testing. In addition, we conducted laboratory testing on the samples. These tests included; unconfined compression testing of rock; basically measuring how much force is needed to crush the rocks.


Gem Lake History and Findings.

BSK: Gem Lake Dam Project.

This will not be the first time the dam has seen work over its almost 100 years of existence. In fact, shortly after its conception, the dam began to show signs of deterioration. Upon investigation it was found that a high water/cement ratio was used, causing the efflorescence and deterioration. This finding, along with other concrete studies, is why the American Concrete Institute now recommends a water/cement ratio of no more than 0.45 for poured concrete. In turn, these types of regulations and findings led to the conception of what we do at BSK.

Why We Love It.

Earthquakes, floods, fires, and other natural disasters have taught us what needs to be done to keep the public safe. We have learned what our soil, buildings, water,  and roads need to withstand natural disasters. Due to this, we have enacted rules and regulations. BSK has Engineers and Geologists that are trained and educated to know how buildings need to be erected; what soil/foundation standards need to be in place. We have inspectors that are licensed to know if a buildings weld joints will react accordingly in an earthquake.  We have laboratories that can test if the water system has been exposed to an outside contaminant. In essence, our work at BSK deals with keeping the public safe. Above all, we take pride in knowing that what we do on a daily basis at BSK makes our communities safer and stronger!

BSK has Engineers and Geologists that are trained and educated to know how buildings need to be erected.

BSK: Gem Lake Dam Project.

Lastly, don’t forget to take a look at the view of Gem Lake Dam from a helicopter here.

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