Robert Ettema’s Team Investigates Spencer Dam Failure

Professor Robert Ettema served on an independent panel that investigated the failure of the Spencer Dam which occured on March 14, 2020, to determine why it happened and how to prevent it from happening again. The Spencer Dam sits on the Niobrara River in northern Nebraska and failed during a major flood and ice run. The flood tore through the dam’s dike and the Highway 281 embankment, destroyed several bridges and buildings, and claimed one life.

Ettema, who researches water engineering and cold-region issues, was appointed to the panel by the Association of State Dam Safety Officials. Over the past year, the panel reviewed data and conducted interviews to identify the physical, human and organizational causes for the dam’s failure.

For the results Read Here