Steps to Make Sure Your Dam Is Ready for Winter

Tony Grubbs

Winter is coming – the first official day of winter is Dec. 21.

As a dam owner, you can take advantage of these changed conditions by going out and doing an inspection. 

Here are some things to look for as Old Man Winter approaches.

  • Hopefully you got that end-of-season mowing completed and now the vegetation is not obscuring your ability to take a good look at your dam. Look for deficiencies that may have occurred due to our active hurricane season this year here in the southeast. Pay attention to areas where the vegetation looks different as they may indicate sloughs, slides, bulges or cracking of the earthen embankment. Of course these vegetation issues could simply indicate a need to do some reseeding next year and you can start adding that as an item for your maintenance planning in the spring. 
  • Thanks to the cold mornings, look for icy spots, especially at the toe of dam. These spots could be an indication of new or increasing seepage through the dam that need to be noted for further observation. These spots may not be as obvious in the summer months as the vegetation and evaporation may make them harder to identify.
  • The cold will also affect your concrete structures. The freeze-thaw can impact the joints and sealants and help deteriorate the concrete at existing cracks, potentially leading to seepage within your spillways. These locations can be identified and repairs made before the real cold months arrive that may impact your ability to perform repairs.

For questions, contact Tony Grubbs at