Bolivar Dam, located in eastern Ohio, is an embankment dam constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1937 as part of the Muskingum River Basin Project for flood control. As a result of seepage concerns observed at the dam during several flood events over the life of the project, seepage reduction measures, including a partial-depth seepage barrier wall through the embankment and a grout curtain in the left abutment, were designed and constructed. These dam safety modifications were constructed between 2014 and 2016. During flood events, Bolivar Dam experiences excessive seepage through the glacial outwash foundation as well as through a network of open joints within the left bedrock abutment. Seepage in the bedrock abutment could erode/scour the dam embankment at the bedrock contact, potentially leading to dam failure. To lower this potential risk of dam failure in the left abutment, a grout curtain was constructed between the new seepage barrier wall and an existing grout curtain across the emergency spillway. The new grout curtain is designed to impede groundwater seepage, resulting in reduced groundwater velocity/energy downstream of the grout curtain, thereby decreasing its potential to scour or transport fine-grained embankment material. The double-line grout curtain is approximately 65 ft (19.8 m) deep and 400 ft (121.9 m) long and was completed in November 2015 as part of a major dam safety modification project. Two thin limestone units encountered during drilling proved to be problematic and posed various challenges during construction. It was common during drilling to lose water circulation within the vicinity of these limestone units, which then required the use of downstaged grouting methods. The majority of the grout volume for the project was placed within these downstaged intervals. This article presents the risk-informed decisions that were made during both design and construction of the grout curtain and includes various lessons that were learned during this process.

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