December 4, 2002
As part of the Dam Safety Performance Monitoring Program (DSPMP), in cooperation with a team of dam owners and independent consultants, FERC developed guidance for carrying out a potential failure mode analysis (PFMA) as part of the FERC Part 12D Periodic Inspections by an Independent Consultant.
Draft Chapter 14 of the Engineering Guidelines describes the goals and expectations in the conduct of a PFMA and also presents a known, workable procedure for the conduct of the potential failure mode analysis. Those procedures, which include the use of a facilitator to guide the PFMA, have been used and tested during the pilot project phase of the DSPMP.
The Potential Failure Mode Analysis (PFMA) facilitator should be a civil engineer with a broad background and experience in dam safety engineering and experience in performing a PFMA similar to that described in this guidance. A basic recommended qualification for the facilitator is that the proposed facilitator for a project should have been involved in an actual PFMA of the nature described in these guidelines.
Qualifying experience is participation as a core team member of a PFMA or actually facilitating a PFMA. This ensures that the person leading the PFMA process knows not only how the process is carried out, but also is aware of what can be accomplished. This is especially critical if the other core team members have not been through a PFMA which may often be the case.
As an alternative to actual experience participating or facilitating a PFMA, the proposed facilitator should have attended an FERC sponsored Dam Safety Performance Monitoring Program Training Workshop. FERC will periodically provide training opportunities to help develop facilitators, especially during the implementation phase of this new program.
It is important to understand that if the facilitator does not accomplish the goals of the PFMA, which is identifying and obtaining a clear understanding of each dam site's specific potential failure modes, the PFMA may be required to be supplemented or redone entirely.
We encourage anyone interested in facilitating PFMAs to contact project owners who have scheduled PFMAs to request permission to observe the PFMAs. DSPMP training workshops are being scheduled that will include PMFA facilitator training.
As we become aware of additional individuals who have the appropriate experience, the list will be updated. If anyone is interested in facilitating PFMAs and believe you have the appropriate experience, please see Contact Information above.