Lucas de Melo is a Senior Principal Engineer based in Maryland with more than 20 years of experience in dams and mining related projects, geotechnical design and field studies, risk quantification, hazardous materials remediation; and in the design of coal ash disposal sites, solid waste management facilities, and capping systems for site closures.
Lucas’ experience includes assessment of stability, liquefaction potential, and stress-strain behavior of concrete and earth dams, and design of retrofits for dams and embankments; development of geotechnical monitoring strategies; analysis of geotechnical field data; engineering recommendations for closure systems, and foundations and retaining structures; engineering analysis for landfill designs and stormwater management systems; preparation of construction bid documents, including technical specifications, engineering drawings, and construction plans; analysis of waste properties; and the evaluation of settlement of residues.
As a consultant, Lucas provides clients analysis, monitoring, and assessment of geotechnical data associated with design, monitoring, and construction on dredge disposal and mine sites. He is also experienced in quality assurance procedures for geosynthetics and soils. His portfolio of clients includes public and private entities.
Notably, Lucas was part of the Expert Panel that provided an assessment of the technical causes of the rupture of Feijão Dam I in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil. To determine what triggered the failure of Dam I and why the failure occurred when it did, the Panel carried out an investigation into the causes of the failure that evaluated the nature of the materials in the dam, aspects of construction and operation methods, condition of the dam before and during the failure, and results of numerical analysis of the conditions just prior to failure. He was also the technical lead for geotechnical monitoring and stability analysis during the construction of the Delaware Solid Waste Authority's Cherry Island Landfill in Wilmington, Delaware, a 1.5-mile long, 60-foot high mechanically stabilized earth berm built over soft dredge materials. For the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Blue Ridge Hydroelectric Plant in Fannin County, Georgia, Lucas and a team of Geosyntec engineers assessed the seismic stability of the Blue Ridge Dam, one of the tallest embankment dams in the Southeastern United States. The project includes an extensive field investigation, laboratory testing program, and analytical and numerical modeling evaluation. Other dam-related projects include stability assessments for John Sevier Dam, Wilbur Dam, Croton Dam, Beaver Creek Dam, and Clear Creek Dam.
To advance the state of the practice, Lucas is a frequent contributor to journal publications. Currently he is an adjunct professor at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where he teaches soil mechanics and foundations engineering.