Saluda backup dam named 2006 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement
Public Affairs
(800) 562-9308

May 2, 2006, Columbia, SC, - SCE&G's Saluda Dam Remediation Project has been honored with the prestigious American Society of Civil Engineers' (ASCE) 2006 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement (OCEA) award. Presented last week at the seventh annual Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) awards gala at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., the OCEA award recognizes the project's significant contribution to the civil engineering profession and its local community. The award is one of the highest honors for civil engineering projects worldwide.

The remediation project was selected over several noteworthy finalists, including two other South Carolina-based projects, the Liberty Bridge in Greenville, and the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge in Charleston. The other finalists were the Neutrinos at the Main Injector (NuMI) Project in Batavia, Ill. and Soudan, Minn., and the Bridge Apollo in Bratislava, Slovakia. Past recipients of the award include the relocation of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, the World Trade Center Towers and the St. Louis Gateway Arch.

"South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G) officials were faced with an extraordinary challenge when [it was discovered what] the impact a repeat of the 1886 Charleston earthquake could have on Columbia's three-quarters-of-a-century-old Saluda Dam," said ASCE President Dennis R. Martenson, P.E., DEE, F.ASCE. "Their proactive approach to protecting the surrounding communities, and the innovative methods they implemented to achieve that goal, make this project the embodiment of everything for which the OCEA award stands. We are proud to honor the Saluda Dam Remediation Project with this year's award."

Seismic studies of the dam indicated that the 1.5 mile-long, 200 foot-high structure could liquefy if hit with an earthquake of the same magnitude as the infamous Charleston quake. Faced with this knowledge, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) required that SCE&G develop a solution to mitigate the risk. However, whatever solution they developed had to keep Lake Murray, rimmed with homes and businesses, nearly full and keep the Saluda hydroelectric plant and the McMeekin coal-fired steam plant operational, all the while ensuring the safety of the 120,000 residents living in the floodplain. The result was a 1.3-million-cubic-yard backup dam.

The project's technical challenges prompted the development of unique solutions. Instead of shipping in rock from various sources, a rock quarry was created onsite, saving both time and money. The project also utilized approximately 200 million pounds of waste coal ash from the McMeekin Plant in the concrete. That is equivalent to 12.5 million 16-pound bowling balls.

One of the biggest challenges the project team faced was in working with the various groups impacted by the project, each with diverse concerns. To facilitate the dialogue process between the company and the affected groups, SCE&G provided open communications channels throughout the term of the project.

"It is truly humbling to be honored in the same company with such civil engineering marvels as the World Trade Center Towers and the Gateway Arch," said Jim Landreth, vice president of Fossil and Hydro Operations at SCE&G. "I am proud to have been a part of this project from the technical accomplishment aspect, but I am even prouder of the work we did with the community to make it happen. The project impacted many different groups and organizations with competing interests, but our people came together to produce a workable solution that suited the community and company alike."

Established in 1960 by ASCE, the OCEA program recognizes projects on the basis of their contributions to the well-being of people and communities, resourcefulness in planning and design challenges, and innovations in materials and techniques. Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) represents more than 139,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Company is a regulated public utility engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 613,000 customers in 24 counties in the central, southern and southwestern portions of South Carolina. The company also provides natural gas service to approximately 294,000 customers in 34 counties in the state. Information about SCE&G is available on the company's web site at