The 2017 ACEC/Iowa Engineering Excellence Awards winning projects in the Special Projects Category, in the order listed (Note Attachment: Grand Place Award Winner press release document):

Special Projects Grand Place Award (1st Place in Category) AND 2017 Engineering Excellence Grand Conceptor Award Winner

Firm: Stanley Consultants
Client/Owner: Lake Delhi Combined Recreational Facility and Water Quality District
Project: Lake Delhi Dam Project
Contact: Mr. Bill Holman, Stanley Consultants
E-mail: holmanbill@stanleygroup.com ~ Phone: 563-264-6485

Lake Delhi Dam

The future is bright again in Delhi.  People are ecstatic at the return of their beloved lake.  Property values have risen.  Local businesses are running out of inventory.   Steve Kowalske, who grew up in the area, called it, “one of Iowa’s greatest triumphs!”


Iowa’s first Labyrinth Dam Built on Lake Delhi

            Rebuilding the dam and refilling Lake Delhi has restored the community

DELHI, Iowa – After two years of construction Lake Delhi Dam, the first labyrinth dam in Iowa and the largest in the Midwest, has been completed.   Virtually unknown in the Midwest, the labyrinth design is able to pass high volumes of water across a short distance without using mechanical gates or electrical systems.  The unique accordion shape of the dam’s spillway makes it possible, by tripling its capacity to pass water as compared to a conventional spillway design.

     In addition to the high capacity spillway, the dam also has three new bottom opening electric roller gates that can be opened and closed in 1-inch increments.  The automatic gates are operated via programmable logic control instruments which constantly read the pool level and adjust the gates accordingly.   If power is lost the gates can be powered via an emergency generator.  If the generator is lost the gates can be opened manually.

     A community-wide celebration was held at Lake Delhi to mark the dam’s completion and the lake’s rebirth.  It also marked the restoration of the small lakeside community.  The event was held exactly six years from the devastating day when 12 inches of rain caused lake levels to raise 8.5 feet.  The floodwaters overtopped and breached the earthen dam.  In just a matter of hours the popular recreational lake had drained, and the region’s economic engine was reduced to 450 acres of muck.  

     The community rallied, determined to rebuild the dam and restore the 9-mile-long lake, raising $1.7 million as seed money for the rebuilding.  Lakefront property owners taxed themselves to the highest extent possible for a 20-year, $6 million dam reconstruction bond.

     Rebuilding the dam met with substantial opposition on multiple levels. Stanley Consultants, a Muscatine-based engineering firm, was retained to inspect the condition of the dam after its failure and played an essential role navigating the $13 million project through multiple roadblocks for the next six years.  Completing the vast array of classification, permitting, and funding requirements took four years, followed by two years of construction.

     During those six years the community of Delhi, pop. 470, and the entirety of Delaware County, felt the economic impact caused by the loss of the lake.  Property tax revenue plummeted, property values plunged, construction around the lake slowed to a stop, and income streams for local businesses who depended on the lake traffic dried up. 

     The recent reopening of the lake has reinvigorated the community.  The lake is a beehive of recreational activity, construction has resumed,  and local businesses are struggling to keep up with demand. 

     In October 2016, just weeks after the lake reopened, the dam was put to the test by the lake’s fifth largest recorded flood.   The automated gates performed flawlessly and the floodwater passed with no significant rise in the water level near the dam


Stanley Consultants provides program management, planning, engineering, environmental and construction services worldwide. Recognized for its commitment to client service and a passion to make a difference, Stanley Consultants brings global knowledge, experience and capabilities to serve clients in the energy, water, transportation and Federal markets.   Since 1913, Stanley Consultants has successfully completed more than 25,000 engagements in all 50 states, U.S. territories, and in 110 countries.  For more information on Stanley Consultants, please visit www.stanleyconsultants.com.

Special Projects Honor Award (2nd place in category)

Project: Ottumwa Lagoon Pump Station Improvements Project
Firm: JEO Consulting Group, Inc.
Client/Owner: City of Ottumwa

Special Projects Honor Award (2nd place in category)

Project: Dry Run Creek Flood Mitigation Project
Firm: WHKS & Co.
Client/Owner: City of Waverly

Special Projects Engineering Achievement Award

Project: North Central Storm Water Project
Firm: Bolton & Menk, Inc.
Client/Owner: City of Storm Lake

Project: Northwest Detention Basin Project
Firm: Fehr Graham
Client/Owner: City of Waukon

Project: Iowa Crude Oil and Biofuels Rail Transportation Study
Firm: HDR
Client/Owner: Iowa Department of Transportation

Project: Iowa State Fair- Ruan Plaza Project
Firm: Kirkham, Michael & Associates, Inc.
Client/Owner: Iowa State Fair Board

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