Asee peer logo

A Community Based Hydrologic Design Project

Download Paper |


2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Reaching Out to the Community

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.22.1 - 7.22.12



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Wayne Groff

author page

Paul Greger

author page

Kim Groff

author page

Joseph Orlins

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Main Menu Session 2651

A Community-Based Hydrologic Design Project

Joseph Orlins, Ph.D., P.E. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ Kim Groff, Ph.D. Earth Solve, Inc., Acton, MA Paul Greger, P.E., P.P. Greger Consultants, LLC, Glassboro, NJ R. Wayne Groff Pitman, NJ


There are numerous small dams in southern New Jersey in need of rehabilitation. Many of these dams were built in the early part of the 20 th century either as roadways across streams or to provide power for local mills, but are currently used only for recreational purposes. When the dams were originally built, they generally had adequate protection regarding flood conditions. However, development in the region has changed the hydrologic conditions upstream of many of these dams significantly. The existing spillways at virtually all of these dams were designed for pre-development flows; with the excess flow brought by development, spillway modifications must be made to increase capacity and maintain dam safety.

The State of New Jersey requires that deficient dams be improved and maintained or removed, to promote public safety. Public entities such as counties and municipalities are generally eligible for State grants to pay for dam safety evaluations and repairs. However, privately owned dams are not eligible for grants. For dams owned by an individual, the costs associated with engineering investigations and dam rehabilitation are often prohibitively expensive. As a result, repairs are often deferred. When repairs are not made in a timely manner, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection Dam Safety Section must take legal action against the dam owner to ensure that public safety is upheld.

To help overcome the financial burden of the engineering analyses associated with dam rehabilitation, a unique partnership has been developed between the owner of a private dam, Rowan University, and the local engineering community. Third-year Civil and Environmental Engineering students have been working with a faculty member to conduct hydraulic and hydrologic analyses and flood inundation mapping, as part of the Engineering Clinic program at Rowan. The results of this project are being evaluated by a team of external practicing engineers, and then submitted to the NJ State Dam Safety Section.

Involving students in all aspects of the dam evaluation introduces many concepts not included in traditional classroom instruction, such as the ecological benefits (and detriments) of small dams. In addition, students are exposed to the socio-economic and political realities that engineers must contend with in professional practice. Thus, having students work on a real-world analysis and design project provides an all-around win-win situation: Students work on a unique educational opportunity; the dam owner receives valuable services; State regulators are satisfied; and public safety is upheld. This paper will discuss the process, successes, and failures of the initial partnership effort.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

Main Menu

Groff, W., & Greger, P., & Groff, K., & Orlins, J. (2002, June), A Community Based Hydrologic Design Project Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10780

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2002 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015