On the Road Again: LTG Semonite at the Guajataca Dam


[Music] LTG Semonite: Hello, lieutenant general Todd Semonite, 54th chief of engineers, and we’re on the road again today we’re in Puerto Rico at the Guajataca
Dam this is a critical issue that’s down here with some of the challenges with Irma and
Maria with me is colonel Jim DeLapp he’s the commander here in Puerto Rico to be able to
do a lot of different missions roofing, temporary power, blue roofs, navigation, but one of
the biggest single challenges we have, Jim, is this particular dam tell our team a little
bit about what do we have here and how did this all evolve? COL DeLapp: Yes, sir, well we’re here on behalf of FEMA
who asked us and the Puerto Rican government for technical
assistance so the Army Corps of Engineers was asked to provide technical assistance
here on the damages to the Guajataca Dam following the storm of Hurricane Maria so we’re here
right when we hit the ground we brought out our engineers Dennis Zeveney is here from
the Jacksonville District and many others came in from Jacksonville and around the corps
to take a look at the dam and provide that technical expertise we’ve come up with a solution
to make a temporary emergency fix to stabilize the spillway that was severely damaged during
the storm so that’s what you see going on behind us LTG Semonite: So, Jim, just set it up a little
bit this is the spillway that came around and we’re facing the dam so if it in fact
we don’t do something here what’s at risk? what could go wrong? COL DeLapp: Yes, sir, well as you can see the spillway, the entire lower half of the spillway was washed away because of a massive amount of
water that came through and progressively sections of the spillway have continued to
erode and drop so what we’re trying to do is shore this up so that additional pieces
of the spillway don’t continue to fall LTG Semonite: Yeah because at some point if you don’t you obviously have a danger of cutting back in to the dam and I imagine a lot of people downstream if
we can’t get this thing under control exactly so, Dennis, the colonel kind of set it up
what’s the kind of short term solution here and then what’s the long term? Zeveney: Well short term solution, sir, is the jersey
barriers that have already been placed LTG Semonite: This is a lot of concrete, how many of those did we put in? Zeveney: 502 LTG Semonite: Wow Zeveney: Basically that’s to buttress up the
bottom of the failed zone, right now we’re using the chinook choppers to bring in sandbags
to build the check dam at the downstream when that’s in place we’ll be able to open up the
54 inch pipe get more water off the dam, once that’s done and stabilized we can start looking
to future repairs like grouting the underslab anchoring the slab, moving forward with future
design work ie changing the spillway type rebuilding this portion of the dam that’s
failed LTG Semonite: So right now we’re flying pumps in out of the united states we’re going to make
basically a couple big pumps with a bunch of siphons, right, just walk through real quick
how does that work? essentially what’s going to happen on the
left side of the dam they’re going to establish first pumps and then once the pumps are in
place they’ll get those running, we’ll feed water to this canal up here to get water
to the people in the northwest portion of the island, additionally we’ll have another
six siphons dumping down into the river to get water away from the dam, at that point we’ll
end up dropping the water in the reservoir about 20 feet so we’ll be able to take a 100
year storm, at that point we’ll be able to proceed with the long term repairs LTG Semonite: So this
really, Jim, you talked about Mobile’s in here helping out normally Jacksonville does
most of the work but this is such a big mission that your district came in to help out, the
short term fix FEMA does response, so we’re responding right now to get this back into
a safety zone if we have a lot more storms and I know there’s been a lot of rain here
then you have the risk of this thing continuing to fill up and having more and more water
come over so that’s why it’s critical to bring it down 20 feet or so but then there’s this
whole other mission that we’re going to end up having to have probably congressional help
with to be able to rebuild this spillway and get it going and that’s probably a two or
three year mission isn’t it, Dennis? Zeveney: Roger that, sir LTG Semonite: Alright well I’ll tell you
what we’re the experts in dam safety we have 715 dams all around the united states and
as much as we talk about a lot of technical stuff I think what’s most important is to
the people of Puerto Rico we have real people living right down from this dam and they’ve
got to be able to make sure that they can go to sleep at night knowing that somebody’s
here to watch and protect this dam and I’m real glad that Jacksonville District and the
expertise you guys bring in under the leadership of Mobile, Jim, and everything that you’ve
got here it’s a real team working side by side we are not out of the woods on this one
we’ve got to be able to get this thing stabilized stop water coming off that spillway and then
bring down that lake and then the bottom line is, go ahead start planning on rebuilding it
so for both of you guys I’m real proud of everything we’ve done we’re way up on the
northwest corner of Puerto Rico but it’s all about our civilians our leadership out here
on the ground making a difference in Puerto Rico Dennis, great job thanks for being here
Jim, thanks for everything you guys have done so from Puerto Rico continuing to do a lot
of hard work from Maria I can’t be more proud of you guys

5 thoughts on “On the Road Again: LTG Semonite at the Guajataca Dam

  1. This has to be fake news because Democrats have said that nothing is being done to help anyone in Puerto Rico.

  2. Chiner President Zi chip in on this project as a sign of good dag nab n good will dag nab it Jingping

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