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Report states Bear Creek dam, reservoir in good condition

An in-depth review into the Bear Creek Reservoir and the dam’s structural integrity, as well as the city’s operation of it, has come back with a passing grade. However, some minor repairs are expected to take place over the next couple of years.

Development Engineer Michael Harvard says while flooding in 2020 was a partial reason for the launch of the review, the main trigger for the study, was the change in provincial regulations on dam structures within Alberta.

“The actual requirements behind the dam itself, say the structural integrity or capacity in other items specific to a dam haven’t changed, it’s just how they’re presented and the type of documents we are required to provide to the province,” he adds.

The report made public on Tuesday, suggests that not only do the dam and the spillway remain under normal conditions, but the capacity in the reservoir itself was also deemed adequate, adding there is no need for additional overflow structures to be built.

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Harvard says while any concerns were not considered urgent or critical in the safety of the dam, they are still items that the city will be taking care of in the not-too-distant future.

“The public should expect to see some work ongoing just as part of routine maintenance on the structure,” he says. We expect with our current structure, at least another couple of decades before a major overhaul is required.”

He says while flooding remains a concern for any municipality, he adds the engineering team monitors Bear River and the dam 24 hours a day. Harvard suggests during any major weather event, crews step up their game to keep on top of any potential issues.

“In the event of a very large storm or a large melt event… if there is any potential concern for the integrity, we would be required to undertake a full inspection following the storm to ensure the structure continues to meet requirements.”

The study took approximately a year to complete and was conducted by SNC Lavelin.

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