Operations & Maintenance

Using the extending arm mower at Germantown Dam

Properly maintaining dams, levees, floodwalls, floodgates, and pump stations along with addressing problems before they become large emergency repairs are critical to MCD's success. Failure to maintain or repair the flood protection infrastructure could result in catastrophic loss of life and property. To properly operate and maintain the flood protection system, staff must be well-educated about MCD features and repair practices and have the knowledge to apply appropriate flood protection methods during high water events.

MCD has an Operations, Maintenance, and Inspection manual (OMI) and Emergency Action Plan for each dam and feature used to train staff.

Operation and maintenance activities include routine and preventative work such as high water response activities, regular inspections of infrastructure and land, mowing levees and dams, brush and tree clearing, repairing erosion, filling levee holes, clearing drift and debris, installing, or repairing safety features, installing, or repairing signage/gates, and checking or repairing floodgates among other things. The operations vary by season. During the winter months, facility projects and annual inspections of the system occur which include safety and inventory checks. Staff also make improvements to facilities, and caretakers work in teams for some of these efforts.

Caretakers and assistant caretakers, supplemented by temporary employees who help with routine maintenance during the mowing season, perform the work necessary to keep the flood protection system in proper working condition as described in the MCD Official Plan.

Trackhoe removing draft at Germantown Dam in 2021


MCD staff maintains and monitors precipitation stations at each of the features and dams. During high water events, staff members collect more frequent precipitation and river stage readings. To record the fluctuation of groundwater pressure, staff read observation well data in and around each dam and along many of the levees.  This data could be early warnings of potential failures. Dam caretakers also read relief wells and record the time and duration of relief well flow. 

The project crew assists with maintaining facilities and infrastructure by performing larger-scale and specialized construction work. The crew operates a variety of heavy equipment throughout the flood protection system to perform its tasks. The equipment includes a backhoe, track hoe, bulldozer, track loader, skid steer with multiple attachments, dump trucks, generators, and pumps.

The project crew removes drift from the conduit inlets at the dams as necessary. Accumulated drift can slow, or block water passing through the conduits and affect the dams' operation.


Closing a floodgate in West Carrollton