Serving professionals in engineering, environmental, and groundwater geology
since 1957

***Tuesday, March 12, 2013***

Topic: "Retrofit of the Big Tujunga Dam for seismic safety and water conservation"

Speaker: Michele Chimienti, PE
Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, Los Angeles, CA

Location: Steven's Steak House
5332 Stevens Place, City of Commerce, CA
(323) 723-9856

Date/Time: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
5:45pm - Social Hour
6:45pm - Dinner
7:45pm - Program

Cost: $30 per person with reservations in advance for AEG/ASCE members, $35 without reservations (at the door), $15 for students with a valid Student ID

RSVP: Please email Shant Minas at:
or call (818) 552-6000 ext.109
Please make reservations by e-mail prior to
5 p.m., Friday, March 8, 2013

The primary purpose of the project was to improve safety and mitigate downstream seismic and flood risks. Had the project not been successfully rehabilitated, potential damage could include loss of life, $175 million damage to homes and infrastructure, and loss of storm water conservation for the City of Los Angeles water supply. The major components of the recently completed rehabilitation design include adding approximately 70,000 cubic yards of concrete on the downstream face of the thin arch dam and adding a unique radial overtopping ogee crest spillway with flip bucket. The full rehabilitation design also includes state-of-the-art upgrades to instrumentation and controls, a new control house, new valves, combined drainage and access gallery at the new-old dam interface, and a new valve house.

The Project involved geotechnical, structural, hydraulic, mechanical and electrical rehabilitation of the structure to restore the primary project purpose of flood control combined with an increased capacity for water conservation. Ultimately, restoring full reservoir capacity (allowing an additional 4,500 acre-feet of stormwater capture) results in an annual average increase of local water supply of 4,500 acre feet. The project also allows for discharge of low-flow environmental stream releases, which was not possible with the old structure. The new 24-inch jet flow valve can operate in ranges of 0 to200 cfs, releasing water to recharge stream flows to benefit environmental habitat, which is home to the federally listed "threatened" Santa-Ana Sucker fish.
Speaker Biography
Ms. Chimienti is a Civil Engineer for the County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Works. She has 16 years of experience in the field of water resources, working with drinking water reservoirs, flood control dams and environmental compliance. Michele Chimienti began her career with the Los Angeles County Public Works Department in June 2001 in their Facilities Section for Water Resources Division. In 2005, she transferred to the Dams Section where she was appointed as the Project Engineer/Manager for the $100 million award-winning Big Tujunga Dam Seismic Rehabilitation and Spillway Modification Project. Her responsibilities included coordination with the California Division of Safety of Dams, Construction Division, and various environmental regulatory agencies and the securing of grant funding. More recently, Michele was responsible for the oversight of the Santa Anita Sediment Removal and Riser Modification Project. She has also served as chair of the Monitoring, Instrumentation, and Damage Assessment Subcommittee (MIDAS) for LA County Dams, and is currently the coordinator for the Santa Ana Sucker Working Group.

In October 2012, Michele transferred to the Water Resources Divisionís Operations Section and is responsible for coordination of storm operations for the County of Los Angeles. Michele received her Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering from USC in 1994 and her Masters Degree in Civil Engineering from Tufts University in 2000.

For more insight on Michele, check out this Youtube video about her: