Mark Creek dam safety review completes first phase

No urgent issues found in first phase, second phase will look more closely

The City of Kimberley's Mark Creek dam.

The City of Kimberley's Mark Creek dam.

The City of Kimberley is in receipt of the first stage of a report on the condition of the Mark Creek dam.

The city was ordered to have a dam safety review done in 2012 by the provincial Ministry of Environment. At the time, the Ministry indicated the review was long overdue and the city was not in compliance with dam safety regulations.

In a report to Council, Manager of Operations Mike Fox said that  due to the dam’s somewhat unusual design — it is a double arch dam — it was a bit difficult to find a consultant to do the review. The city finally hired Northwest Hydraulic Consultants out of Kamloops to do the review, however that was delayed as well.

Said Fox in the report: “The DSR Stage 1 report prepared by Northwest Hydraulic Consultants was not submitted on time, in fact, it was very late, and the Dam Safety Officer was not happy with the intended timelines for stage two reporting. For these reasons the City has selected Urban Systems to finish the stage 2 report with NWH Consultants’ blessing. Urban Systems has committed to working on this review and having it completed in 2016.”

As to the phase one review, no urgent issues were found with the dam, which was constructed in 1994.

However, a comprehensive‐type dam safety review is now recommended that is focused on more detailed engineering evaluations, including areas where not enough information is available.

Northwest Hydraulics first stage report says Stage 2 will involve at least a Geotechnical/Rock Mechanics Specialist and a Concrete Dam Structural Engineer. A detailed evaluation of the dam and associated safety measures will be scrutinized during this Stage in order to deliver a Comprehensive DSR. “Based on the review of Stage 2 findings by the MFLNRO’s Dam Safety Officer, further individual studies may be required to investigate specific dam safety concerns.”

The Mark Creek dam   was constructed in 1994 by the forward thinking council of the day, which wanted to get a key piece of infrastructure built while industrial taxes were still flowing from Teck Cominco. The dam is 21.5 metres high, with an arch three metres thick at the base and 1.9 metres at the crest.

“A dam breach flood wave would cause serious flooding of homes and businesses, hence the extreme consequence classification of this dam,” the review says.