‘Flood’ Tag

Olympus Dam, Estes Park, Colorado – Flood Control, Power Generation

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

Seen here is the Olympus Dam in Estes Park, Colorado near Rocky Mountain National Park. The dam is 70 feet tall and created Estes Lake, 185 acres in size, after its completion. Construction started in the summer of 1947 and the dam is used today mainly for hydroelectric component to generate electricity. This dam uses sluice gates to regulate the height of the water behind it, and they can been seen at the top of the dam. Currently, the center gate of five is the only one open, but during the spring melt the dam can drain near full capacity to keep the water behind it at a safe level.

Local Flood due to Storm Water Sewer Overload

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

Seen above is a street that has been flooded due to a storm event overwhelming the storm water sewer system. Storm water sewers are typically designed, depending on the location, for approximately a 10 year event period. This means they can handle a storm that happens on average only once every 10 years. To design for event periods much more than this would be a poor decision due to the large increase of additional resources that would be needed to accomplish these designs. As with every engineering design problem, optimal sewer design is a balance of performance and varying measures of cost.