News Stories

Rappel team inspects concrete surfaces of Philpott Dam

Published Nov. 3, 2014

PHILPOTT LAKE, Va. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Wilmington District, has enlisted the expertise of a team that specializes in rappelling inspection techniques to examine the exterior surfaces of Philpott Dam during the week of Nov. 3-7 continuing its comprehensive reservoir maintenance operations at the dam.  In July, Philpott underwent a routine cleaning and dive inspection. 

   The special civil engineering team from Philadelphia District is one of three such Corps of Engineers’ specialized teams used for inspection purposes around the country. The others are in the San Francisco and Sacramento Districts.

  The Special Rope Access Climb Team from Philadelphia District will use ropes, cables, karabiners, and harnesses to rappel down the sides of the dam, inspecting the exterior concrete surfaces of the dam above the waterline to document the structural condition of the dam.

   Rappelling across the dam’s concrete surface affords civil engineers the opportunity to view areas normally hidden or difficult to see from other vantage points. They will begin the inspection on the downstream side of Philpott Dam.  

    “The team will provide us with vital information we can use for future inspections and for maintenance,” said Powell Hughes, Wilmington District’s Dam Safety Program Manager. Philpott is one of nine dams the District manages. 

    “Inspections like these are critical to ensure we have comprehensive information on the structural integrity of our dams, which enables us to conduct appropriate maintenance for the continued reliable operation of the dam and to ensure public safety.”

   Philpott is one of three Wilmington District dams undergoing comprehensive inspection in 2014.  Other dams inspected this year include W. Kerr Scott in Wilkesboro, N.C., and John H. Kerr in Boydton, Va.  

   For more information, please contact Philpott Lake Operations Project Manager Craig (Rocky) Rockwell at (276) 629-4512.