Floating bulkheads: A practical, flexible, and economical approach to dewatering gates

Gates are installed at many dams to pass water either for dewatering, normal river flows, or flood flows. Many of these gates are more than 50 years old and either need maintenance or periodic operation to verify that they can be opened during a high flow event. If the dam spillway was not constructed with a stoplog system or another mechanism to separate the gate from the impoundment, the owner’s choices include constructing a costly cofferdam or bulkhead system to dewater the gate, or dewatering the entire reservoir. This paper describes the general principles behind the design and fabrication of a floating bulkhead, outlining potential cost savings of a floating bulkhead versus traditional bulkhead, and providing varying case studies of spillway configurations to demonstrate the various scenarios in which a floating bulkhead can be placed.

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Floating bulkheads: A practical, flexible, and economical approach to dewatering gates

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