Atoka Dam & Spillway —
Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust’s (OCWUT) Atoka Dam and Spillway Rehabilitation was a critical project on multiple fronts and came with a unique set of challenges. Lake Atoka is a primary water supply source for the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area which serves a population of nearly 1.5 million and is a beloved recreational area for southeastern Oklahoma residents offering boating, fishing, camping, picnic and play areas surrounding its 59-miles of shoreline.
When a 100-year storm fell on the watershed at Atoka Reservoir in May 2015, the storm was barely contained by the existing spillway. Though the storm was not the start of the issues at Atoka Dam, it did cause severe damage to the spillway chute and stilling basin.
The Trust hired Freese and Nichols, Inc. (FNI) to design repairs to the spillway, but a previous study performed by the U.S. Geological Service (USGS) suggested that the dam would not pass the minimum design flood required by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB). The scope of work grew to include our own independent evaluation of the design flood, which resulted in significant critical upgrades apart from the storm damage.
From an engineering perspective, the project team faced unique circumstances at nearly every phase. The team met challenges like complicated hydraulics, a compact project site, steep topography, complex geology, as well as aesthetic and project funding requests from the Trust. With innovative and highly customized approaches, the Trust was able to successfully deliver this renewed major water resource.
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