The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) created bathymetric-contour and water-velocity vector maps for portions of Lake Herrington within 600 feet of the face of Dix Dam near Burgin, Kentucky. The mapping was in support of a study of noninvasive acoustic technology for assessing structural integrity of dams, both as a routine inspection tool or as an emergency tool during hydrologic events, such as high water or flooding. In April 2010, scientists from the USGS used a boat-mounted transducer and echo sounder to obtain bathymetric data to characterize lakebed relief and sediment distribution under a closed-intake condition. Also in April 2010, an acoustic Doppler current profiler was employed to measure water velocity and flow direction in the lake to locate velocities moving toward the dam face and, possibly, dam leakage.
The bathymetric survey showed the present condition of fill in the reservoir since the dam was completed, as well as provided an outline of the lake floor. The velocity survey indicated no discernible flow pattern or direction within the study area; only one transect had shown a difference from the others that was noticeable. The noninvasive acoustic bathymetric and velocity surveys used during the case study showed promise in locating potential dam or intake maintenance areas. Additional case studies throughout the Nation are needed to more clearly define whether the methods for noninvasive bathymetric and velocity surveys for dam safety will be successful in a variety of settings.