Earth and Rock-Fill Dams: General Design and Construction by U. S. Army Corps of Engineers

By U. S. Army Corps of Engineers

This guide offers basic rules underlying the layout and building of earth and rock-fill dams. the overall ideas offered herein also are appropriate to the layout and building of earth levees.

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Additional info for Earth and Rock-Fill Dams: General Design and Construction Considerations

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Rock-fill materials. (1) Sound rock is ideal for compacted rock-fill, and some weathered or weak rocks may be suitable, including sandstones and cemented shales (but not clay shales). Rocks that break down to fine sizes during excavation, placement, or compaction are unsuitable as rock-fill, and such materials should be treated as soils. Processing by passing rock-fill materials over a grizzly may be required to remove excess fine sizes or oversize material. If splitting/processing is required, processing should be limited to the minimum amount that will achieve required results.

4) Where considerable freezing takes place and soils are susceptible to frost action, it is desirable to terminate the core at or slightly below the bottom of the frost zone to avoid damage to the top of the dam. Methods for determination of depths of freeze and thaw in soils are given in TM 5-852-6. For design of road 7-2 pavements on the top of the dam under conditions of frost action in the underlying core, see TM 5-818-2. (5) Considerable volumes of soils of a random nature or intermediate permeability are usually obtained from required excavations and in excavating select impervious or pervious soils from borrow areas.

1) The principal factors that determine methods of stream control are the hydrology of the stream, the topography and geology of the site, and the construction schedule. A common diversion method is to construct the permanent outlet works and a portion of the embankment adjacent to an abutment in the initial construction period. During the next construction period, at a time when flood possibility is low and favorable embankment placement conditions are likely, a cofferdam is constructed to divert riverflow through the outlet works (guidance on planning, design, and construction of cofferdams is given in ER 1110-2-2901 and EM 1110-2-2503).

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