Geotechnical and Water Quality Instrumentation Installation and Monitoring
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Geosyntec installed solar powered water quality monitoring units at the Center Hill Dam to wirelessly transmit construction and other  data to a real-time internet-based reporting system.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) managed a $106 million rehabilitation of the Center Hill Dam in Tennessee. The massive rehabilitation effort included the installation of an approximately 200,000-square-foot barrier wall, the main protective feature in the seepage remediation project that extends more than 300 feet into the earthen embankment and underlying foundation bedrock. Center Hill Dam is the highest priority project of USACE's system for the development of the water resources of the Cumberland River Basin. As a major unit in the system, Center Hill Dam and Lake function to control the floodwaters of the Caney Fork River and contribute to the reduction of flood levels at municipal, industrial, and agricultural areas along the Cumberland and lower Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. In addition to the far-reaching effects of flood control, the dam contributes to the electrical power supply of the area through the generation of hydroelectric power. Monitoring of instrumentation during construction is a key method by which the USACE ensures not only the safety of the dam itself but the safety of the workers at the dam as well.

Geosyntec's Scope of Services

Geosyntec developed the geotechnical, instrumentation, water quality, and construction data management and visualization system that controls the flow of information between the contractor and the government. It is the primary mechanism for gauging construction progress and overall compliance with the contract specifications.  Along with upgrading the existing piezometer data network, Geosyntec installed solar-powered remote telemetry monitoring units to wirelessly transmit data to a real-time internet-based reporting system at six locations to continuously monitor water quality downgradient of construction operations.  Data from hundreds of instruments are sent every 15 minutes to the system, which processes and reports the data using task specific data dashboards.  Geosyntec programmed the system to provide automated e-mail and SMS text alerts to alert project personnel when project-specific safety and other alert thresholds are reached.

Notable Accomplishments

Using an internet-based system, Geosyntec provided the prime contractor and USACE real-time continuous access to hundreds of piezometer and water quality data streams. It also provided the ability to understand how construction affected pore pressures in the vicinity of the project works as well as water quality downgradient of construction operations.  Geosyntec developed a GIS-based data-driven map interface that gave user access to real-time field data, historical construction plans, current construction reports, and a tool to understand the spatial relationship between these various pieces of information. This WallTracker™ application streamlined the project workflow and allowed data to be compiled and accessed through an intuitive user interface as it was collected and verified.  Project managers and other stakeholders could track progress and analyze and respond to trends in the data, which maximized efficiency of this complex, time-critical and high-profile construction project.

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Project Summary

  • Location: Lancaster, Tennessee
  • Client: Bauer Foundation Corporation under USACE Nashville District
  • Project Practice Areas: Geotechnical
  • Type of Facility: Dam
  • Services Provided: Telemetry station installation, Geotechnical and water quality instrumentation installation, Continuous real-time data processing and reporting, Data management, Geosyntec WallTracker™ application
  • Type of Work: Real-time instrumentation
  • Governing Regulation: Federal regulations