Seismic Resilience Planning

Seismic Resilience Planning 2018-12-14T09:25:38+00:00

Earthquake preparedness is nothing new to those living in the Pacific Northwest. Local faults in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California periodically cause ground shaking that damage our utility infrastructure. Now, with the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake in the spotlight, utilities are increasingly concerned about the performance of their system and long-term recovery after a seismic event.

Scientists predict a 37% chance of a Magnitude 8+ Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake occurring in the next 50 years.

Engineering consulting firms are rising to the challenge of seismic resilience planning and design, and RH2 is no exception. RH2 staff have a wide breadth of seismic resilience planning and design expertise.

From seismic planning, earthquake early warning systems, performance assessments, to retrofits and seismic designs, we offer a full suite of seismic resilience services to strengthen our infrastructure and ensure long-term viability of our communities after the CSZ event.

RH2 offers the following seismic planning services:

  • Level of Service Goals & Policy Development
  • Geotechnical Hazard Identification
  • Supply Reliability & Redundancy
  • Backbone Identification & Prioritization
  • Risk Assessment & Mitigation Plans
  • System Operability Assessments
  • Seismic Design Standards Development
  • Emergency Response Plans
  • Earthquake Early Warning Implementation (ShakeAlert)
  • Operational Planning

ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System

ShakeAlert Concept IllustrationShakeAlert is a West Coast earthquake early warning system developed by USGS and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. It consists of a network of hundreds of sensors geographically distributed throughout the region. The information received is processed and distributed to the other data centers and an expanding number of approved end users. Now in the pilot program phase, RH2 is approved by USGS to provide technical assistance to help water/wastewater and transportation agencies obtain and use the signals.

As a pilot program user, your agency can begin to receive ShakeAlert signals to alert staff and take automatic actions, such as throttling valves, turning off motorized equipment, and de-energizing electrical control panels. RH2 can assist your agency with setting parameters (i.e. earthquake strength, time to shaking at your location, and the calculated reliability of the warning) for these actions to occur.

RH2 has an in-house structural team with many years of experience  performing seismic assessments of water and wastewater infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest. Our staff  performed vulnerability assessments on five steel reservoirs for the Lakewood Water District, identifying seismic retrofit options, recommending improvements, and developing preliminary cost estimates. With our assistance, Lakewood was awarded a FEMA grant that covered the costs of some of the improvements. Our retrofit solutions included foundation modifications and cross-bracing improvements at two elevated steel tanks, anchorage improvements at the hydropillar, a full foundation replacement with anchorage at one welded steel standpipe, and seismic expansion joints on reservoir piping

Structural Performance Assessments

Understanding how your infrastructure will perform during the earthquake and what improvements will cost is essential to finding the right balance of risk and affordability. RH2’s in-house structural team provides an array of structural performance assessments for pipes, reservoirs, pump stations, treatment plants, buildings, and other structures. As part of these assessments, we offer:

  • Vulnerability Assessments
  • Benefit-Cost Analyses
  • Grant Funding Assistance
  • Seismic Resilience Capital Planning

Seismic Design and Retrofits

Strength and flexibility are critical functions for designing infrastructure to withstand seismic forces. RH2 brings extensive seismic design knowledge to our clients in the northwest. We design structures to withstand code-level seismic loads and piping connections that meet prescribed flexibility and joint deflection required during earthquake events. Our design and retrofit services include reservoirs, pump stations, treatment plants, buildings, pipes, and implementation of Earthquake Early Warning (ShakeAlert) systems. With experience assisting clients in both Washington and Oregon, our engineers and scientists are aware of the most up-to-date seismic standards and design requirements.

RH2 evaluated seismic performance and retrofit design of two 50-foot-tall steel standpipes that are critical to our client’s operations. RH2’s evaluation determined that both tanks had inadequate anchorage and foundations to resist a code-level seismic event. Our retrofits included adding anchors to resist uplift, enlarging the foundation by more than 4 feet to aid in resisting uplift and reducing soil-bearing pressures, adding larger anchor bolts and shell stiffeners to prevent shell wall buckling, installing flexible piping at the inlets, outlets, and drains, and adding new seismically-actuated isolation valves. We also assisted our client in obtaining FEMA grant funding to implement these improvements.

ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System

ShakeAlert is a West Coast earthquake early warning system developed by USGS and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. It consists of a network of hundreds of sensors geographically distributed throughout the region. The information received is processed and distributed to the other data centers and an expanding number of approved end users. Now in the pilot program phase, RH2 is approved by USGS to provide technical assistance to help water/wastewater and transportation agencies obtain and use the signals.

As a pilot program user, your agency can begin to receive ShakeAlert signals to alert staff and take automatic actions, such as throttling valves, turning off motorized equipment, and de-energizing electrical control panels. RH2 can assist your agency with setting parameters (i.e. earthquake strength, time to shaking at your location, and the calculated reliability of the warning) for these actions to occur.

In the News

Learn more about how RH2 assisted the Northeast Sammamish Water District’s installation of of the ShakeAlert pilot program. We’re featured in

Have questions? Want to learn more?

For more information on RH2’s seismic resilience services and how we can help you assess if your system is well prepared for a seismic event, please reach out to our local area experts at an office near you!

Washington

Rick Ballard
425.951.5328
Michele Campbell
425.951.5394
Jon Conner
425.951.5352

Oregon

Rachel Lanigan
541.326.4437
Bob Willis
503.446.2904
Kyle Pettibone
503.446.2816