Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wild turkeys at the entrance of Calaveras Road

Happy Thanksgiving! For this special edition of our blog, I asked a few of my colleagues what they’re thankful for as it relates to their work at Calaveras Dam.

Here’s what they said:

I’m thankful for kind and caring coworkers. I’m thankful for good relationships between the contractor and the City. The whole team makes coming to work easy. –JT Munchin-Mates, Environmental Compliance Manger

I am thankful for the opportunity to with an awesome team. –Ritu G. Giri, Senior Engineer-Piping & Pipeline

I’m thankful for the different people I get to collaborate with. We all have different stories and it’s great that we can share and be a team. –Minh Nguyen, QA Inspector

I’m thankful for the memorable quotes that keep our meetings interesting and lighthearted. (1) ‘Where’s the topsoil?’ ‘We moved it.’ (2) ‘This is 5I? What have you done to it?’ (3) ‘It’s pooching out.’ (4) ‘This road is seldom used and moss has grown over it.’ (5) ‘There’s rock in the creek. I’ve seen it.’ (6) ‘C’mon man! You’re losing the focus.’” –Tedman Lee, Civil Engineer

I am thankful to work with intelligent, energetic, and supportive people that are dedicated to the work that they do. It’s also an added bonus to work in an environment where my colleagues make me smile and laugh. –Olivia Nunez, Communications Liaison

I am thankful for the many friends I’ve made during my time here and how we take care of each other and help each other out in our times of need. ☺—Wendie Busbie, Office Manager

As an engineering geologist, I am thankful for the opportunity to work on a major infrastructure project in such an interesting geologic setting, from the beginning of the design phase site investigations through construction. –Phil Respess, Senior Project Engineering Geologist

I am thankful that the Construction Management Team and the Joint Venture are communicative. Whether in the field or back at the office, maintaining an open line of communication is critical for both safety and efficiency and when an issues arises, the solution becomes a productive dialogue rather than a reproachful lecture. –Bill Stagnaro, Environmental Inspector

I am thankful for a great job and a supportive boss. – Jason Lau, FCA Assistant

I am thankful for the opportunity to be involved with the CDRP project. It is a special and challenging project that is highly educational and memorable. I am also thankful to be working with the project team. The staff from both the JV and CM Team are very competent, professional, and a pleasure to work with. –James Sakai, Project Engineer

This year, I am very grateful to be able to work with all of you in the Sunol Valley.  All your commitment, dedication, talent and hardwork have helped to make very good progress on all the Sunol Projects.  I am so thankful for all your contributions.  Wish you all have a Happy Thanksgiving with families and friends!–Susan Hou, East Bay Regional Project Manager

See you around the valley!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

External Instrumentation at Calaveras Dam

Typical survey monument

The old and replacement Calaveras Dams are located approximately 1,500 feet from the Calaveras Fault.  This means that we need to make sure that there are devices in place to monitor the movements of both the current and future dams and the area around them. 

The future Calaveras Dam will have a total of seven types of instruments inside it and around it.  Today I will focus only on two types of external instruments that will be placed at Calaveras Dam to help us monitor and protect it -- survey monument and accelerographs.

 I will explain the purpose of each and the role each device plays at Calaveras Dam. 

Survey Monuments

Survey monuments are placed both around the exterior of a dam and later will be placed on the surface of the dam.  They are monitored periodically to determine if they have moved from previous measurements, which would indicate any significant movement of the ground surface has occurred. Survey monuments also track the change in elevation of the ground surface, allowing us to determine the settlement of the new dam embankment. Some of the survey monuments placed at Calaveras Dam have survey prisms permitting the monitoring to be done remotely using a digital theodolite (aka total station).   We will have a total of 65 survey monuments at Calaveras Dam.  

 Survey Monument with Optical prism


Accelerographs are used to detect strong acceleration of the ground due to seismic forces. Accelerographs record the acceleration of the ground with respect to time. An Accelerograph is different than a seismograph. The difference is that an accelerograph doesn’t start working until something moves it.  A seismograph is recording continuously.  An accelerograph is a recorder that uses an accelerometer. Accelerometers are much less sensitive than seismometers, but have a much greater range. There will be 4 accelerographs installed around the new Calaveras Dam. 

These features are just some of the ways in which we are ensuring that the new Calaveras Dam serves our current and future generations of customers.

See you around the Valley!