• 22 Mar 2021
    • 9:30 AM (MDT)
    • 26 Mar 2021
    • 2:00 PM (MDT)
    • Online
    • 60
    Leveraging PFMA to Perform SQRA

    5-Day Virtual Workshop

    March 22-26, 2021

    Eligible for 20 PDH credits


    Despite the criticism that Potential Failure Mode Analysis (PFMA) has received following the Oroville Dam spillway incident, it has been viewed as a standard of care for dam safety evaluations in the U.S., and with some possible improvements to be more expansive, is expected to be so into the future.  Many PFMA’s have been performed for state- and federally-regulated dams, and as a result of that investment, considerable knowledge has been obtained about vulnerabilities associated with specific dams.  As the federal dam owners have embraced risk assessment as the next step in ensuring that dam safety risks are properly evaluated and managed, it is expected that private and state dam owners will benefit from following suit.  Indeed, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has recently adopted Risk Informed Decision Making (RIDM) as part of their engineering guidelines.  The intent of this training is to leverage and improve on the significant investment that has already been made in performing PFMA’s, and use this information to perform semi-quantitative risk assessments (SQRA) for individual dams or dam portfolios.  These assessments can then be used as a screening tool to identify PFM’s and overall risks which are not likely to meet Tolerable Risk Guidelines (TRG) based on life safety, and as a prioritization tool for reducing risk, performing additional investigations or studies, or performing quantitative risk assessments.  A simplified method for categorizing additional consequences such as those incurred at Oroville is also presented in this training.

    Target Audience

    The target audience for this training is dam owners and regulators who are familiar with the PFMA process, and are wanting to move these types of evaluations into the risk arena.  This would include FERC licensees and their consultants; private, municipal, and state dam owners; and state and federal dam safety regulators.

    Content and Commitment

    This course will take place over five days and  will cover review of the PFMA process, TRG’s, using the PFMA results to perform a SQRA (including additional required input and how to obtain it), estimating consequences including but not limited to life safety, assessing the results, building the dam safety case, and prioritizing risk reduction actions.  



    John W. France, PE, D.GE, D.WRE, M. ASCE

    Bill Fiedler, P.E.

    Gregg A Scott, P.E., F. ASCE

    Mel Schaefer Ph.D. P.E.

    Registration and Cancellation Policy

    No registration is confirmed until full payment is received. Seating is limited and only those with paid status are guaranteed a workshop seat.

    In order to take advantage of early-bird prices, registration must be paid by 2/28/21 

    Cancellations must be received via email to in order to receive refunds as stated below:

    ·        By 3/4/21- full refund

    ·        After 3/4: no refund, however substitutions are permitted


    • 11 May 2021
    • (MDT)
    • 20 May 2021
    • (MDT)
    • Online

    USSD Virtual Annual Conference

    May 10-May 21, 2021

    Safety, Security, and Emergency Response in the 21st Century

    Due to the ongoing COVID pandemic and continued travel restrictions, the USSD annual conference is going virtual.

    Scheduled over a two-week period, the conference will be a combination of live-streaming and recorded on-demand sessions.  This provides attendees the ability to view more technical sessions than they would if attending in person. 

    Next year also marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centers and Pentagon. While no dams or levees were compromised during the attacks, the event resulted in large changes in the approach to infrastructure security nationwide.

     Registration Now Open - Click Here!

    Drafts & Final Papers

    Notification of acceptance were emailed September 11, 2020. 

    • All authors/presenters must upload a form to Speaker Resource Center confirming your intention to participate in the conference and granting USSD permission to publish and distribute your paper/expanded abstract and/or presentation.
    • Authors will be able to access review comments by February 1, 2021.
    • Final papers or expanded abstracts must be uploaded by March 12, 2021.
    • All presenters must submit draft and final PowerPoint presentations to session moderators during March 2021.

    All agreements, drafts and final papers/expanded abstracts may be uploaded to your Cvent portal:

    All presenters will be expected to attend the Conference and pay the reduced registration fee offered to authors and co-authors.

    USSD website:

    Conference website: 

    Abstract/Paper Management Portal:

    Speaker Resource Center (SRC): 

    Exhibit Booth Information:

    For more information, contact:, 303-792-8753

    Technical Program Chair: Conrad Ginther (Black & Veatch)

    Brought to you in part by our 2021 Conference Sponsors

Past events

12 Jan 2021 Just Go with the Flow: A Phased Approach to Understanding Your Spillway
15 Dec 2020 Introduction to the Engineer of Record for Tailings Dams
09 Dec 2020 2020 Fall Workshop Series: Regional Analysis Tools for Calculating the Magnitude of Extreme Floods
08 Dec 2020 2020 Fall Workshop Series: Reclamation Consequences Estimating Methodology (RCEM)
18 Nov 2020 Seismic Thresholds for Embankment Dams & Their Return Periods
10 Nov 2020 2020 Fall Workshop Series: Instrumentation and Performance Monitoring of Dams
27 Oct 2020 2020 Fall Workshop Series: Introduction and Overview of Rock Scour
21 Oct 2020 What the f-N? Clarifying Misconceptions about Risk Plots
20 Oct 2020 Evaluating Complex Systems as Part of a Semi-Quantitative Risk Assessment
12 Oct 2020 2020 Fall Workshop Series: Leveraging PFMA to Perform SQRA Webinar
07 Oct 2020 2020 Fall Workshop Series: Understanding Potential Life Loss from Flooding - Shining a Light into the Black Box that is HEC-LifeSim
06 Oct 2020 2020 Fall Workshop Series: Introduction to Probabilistic Dam Breach Modeling
01 Oct 2020 2020 Fall Workshop Series
01 Oct 2020 Asphalt Core Embankment Dams (ACED) – Why, Where and How?
11 Sep 2020 Specialized Communication for Engineers - #3 The Business Skill of Likability
10 Sep 2020 Specialized Communication for Engineers - #2 Culture-building Conversations
09 Sep 2020 Specialized Communication for Engineers - #1 Crisis Communication
28 Aug 2020 Advanced Communication for Engineers- #3 Build Your Tribe
27 Aug 2020 Advanced Communication for Engineers- #2 Prepare for Difficult Conversations
26 Aug 2020 Advanced Communication for Engineers- #1 Executive Presence for Online Meetings
21 Aug 2020 Communication Fundamentals for Engineers- #3 Winning Presentations
20 Aug 2020 Communication Fundamentals for Engineers- #2 Be Heard!
19 Aug 2020 Communication Fundamentals for Engineers-#1 Communicate with Anyone!
02 Jun 2020 Professional Ethics Webinar
20 Apr 2020 Sponsor a Student at the Conference
20 Apr 2020 2020 USSD Conference and Exhibition
29 Oct 2019 Leveraging Potential Failure Mode Analyses to Perform Semi-Quantitative Risk Assessments
09 Jul 2019 Static Liquefaction Workshop
14 May 2019 FEMA National Dam Safety Program: Rapid Dam Break, Flood and Consequence Assessment: Preparedness, Response, Recovery and Mitigation Risk Assessments
08 Apr 2019 2019 USSD Conference and Exhibition
30 Apr 2018 2018 USSD Conference and Exhibition
20 Sep 2017 The Challenges of Dams in Cold Climates
14 Sep 2017 Lessons Learned from Recent Tailings Dam Failures: A Path Forward
07 Sep 2016 2nd International Seminar on Dam Protection Against Overtopping

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