January 9, 2020

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Robert Bachus to Lecture on Dam Failures at Georgia Geo-Institute's January 2020 Meeting

Robert Bachus, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE (Georgia) will present "Dam Failures: Recent Experience with Mine Tailings and Coal Ash Impoundments" at the Georgia Geo-Institute Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers' (ASCE) January 2020 meeting as part of the Cross-USA Lecture Tour at the Georgia Power Building in Atlanta, Georgia at 6:30 p.m. on January 21, 2020.

Robert is a Senior Principal Engineer based in Georgia with more than 40 years of professional experience focused on geotechnical engineering, geoenvironmental engineering, waste by-product characterization, and the permitting and design of waste containment facilities. He provides analysis, design, and forensic investigation services on projects related to these practice areas. He also provides expert consultation on matters in litigation.

The Georgia Section of ASCE is a professional organization that strives to provide essential value to its members and partners, which includes supporting and promoting Georgia Civil Engineers and providing training and networking opportunities. Its members also strive to advance public knowledge of civil engineering and serve the public good.


The accident at the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant in 2008 had a revolutionary impact on the coal-powered energy generation community. Essentially, the most common coal ash disposal practices in the southeastern U.S. will no longer be permitted and former ash disposal facilities have been ordered to close… at considerable expense and utilization of resources. Coal ash (also referenced as coal ash residuals or CCRs) at the Kingston facility were managed in a dredge cell that was constructed as a tailings dam using upstream construction practices. Forensic investigations led to numerous potential explanations for the failure, but some of these explanations suggest that the failure could have been prevented. Fast forward several years and two catastrophic dam failures in Brazil, specifically the Fundão Dam (2015) and the Brumadinho Dam (2019). Forensic investigation suggest that these failures could have been avoided. These accidents rocked the international community and elicited a call for action from the public and from stakeholders to minimize the potential for future accidents. One problem with this challenge relates to the sheer numbers of tailings dams across the globe and the critical need to understand the current state of stability of these facilities. This presentation will discuss and describe the recent experiences regarding these failures and discuss various activities that are underway to assess the current stability and to develop go-forward actions regarding the fate of existing and future tailings dams.

More Information

Learn more about the event: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/georgia-geo-institute-chapter-january-2020-meeting-tickets-88107290277
Learn more about the Georgia Geo-Institute Section of ASCE: https://www.geoinstitute.org/
For consultation regarding dam engineering, contact Robert at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Learn more about Robert: https://www.geosyntec.com/people/robert-bachus