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051-Considerations In Estimating Tailwater Elevations

By: Al Stewart, PE

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Course Objective

This continuing education course is written specifically for professional engineers with the objective of relating to and enhancing the practice of engineering.

Course Description

This is a Spotlight Course of the Week (Expires: 1/25/2019)
051-Considerations In Estimating Tailwater Elevations

Determination of a reasonable/accurate tailwater elevation is important in locations such as central, southern, and coastal Florida where the terrain is predominately flat, low-lying, and includes areas of high groundwater. In these areas, a few tenths of a foot difference in water surface elevation on the upstream side of a hydraulic structure (headwater) can be the determining factor in whether a project gets a stormwater permit from the applicable regulatory agency, because of the potential to adversely impact adjacent properties. That same relatively small difference in water surface elevation can also lead to larger pipe sizes for culvert and storm drain systems, larger stormwater ponds, and has a direct impact on the amount of fill needed for projects.

Hydraulic structures in these areas typically flow under "Outlet" control for the design event. The downstream water surface elevation at the discharge point, or tailwater elevation, while a significant component in hydraulic calculations is often given the least amount of attention during design.

This course is of interest to a wide variety of engineers that work on both public and private infrastructure and site development projects. This course discusses those less than ideal, yet typical tailwater conditions encountered during actual practice. It addresses typical agency design requirements as well as some of the more common pitfalls encountered in estimating tailwater elevations. The course discusses the impacts of over and underestimated tailwater elevations and identifies things the designer should consider during the design to avoid the more common pitfalls.

051-Considerations In Estimating Tailwater Elevations
Allen Lane
07/29/2018
Verified Buyer
This was a great refresher course for design engineers and is a great course for new engineers. The course helped reaffirm design assumptions and considerations when designing outfall systems.
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051-Considerations In Estimating Tailwater Elevations
ROBERT P MORRIISETTE, JR, PE
12/22/2017
Verified Buyer
EXCELLENT AS A REVIEW FOR PRACTICING ENGINEER OR AS AN INTRODUCTORY COURSE FOR THE ENGINEER JUST BEGINNING PRACTICE. WELL DONE!
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051-Considerations In Estimating Tailwater Elevations
Frantz Fenelon
02/19/2017
Verified Buyer
Well done. Keep up the good work.
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Thorough tailwater estimaing course
Andrew Swanson
01/18/2016
Verified Buyer
Thorough tailwater design course that outlined several pitfalls when considering tailwater estimation.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
06/28/2015
Very well written. Al should be in academia.
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(no title provided)
Robert Doster
06/23/2015
This was a tough test, in that the answers were not all intuitive. The course did not cover a lot of "how to calculate" information but rather the logic and judgement a PE should follow in determining a correct course of action
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Overall - a very sound short course.
anonymous
02/07/2015
. . . Over estimation of tailwater might show a modeled Q from a drop structure being lower. This could cause the designer to make the discharge pipe smaller (assuming the engineer is balancing the weir and outfall pipe sizing together). If the tailwater is lower in reality, the pipe could become the limiting component and exit velocities could become excessive. That can be a negative consequence. Overall - this is an essential guide to drainage engineers! Nice work.

SunCam Comment: Portions of the reviewer's comments were deleted to avoid giving answers to test questions.
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(no title provided)
John C. Kelly
01/28/2015
Very informative overview for the Florida PE.
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(no title provided)
W. Landon Younce, PE
12/31/2014
Thorough discussion about a topic that doesn't get enough detail in most cases. I enjoyed it.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
12/01/2014
Great course, very thorough discussion of tailwater as it relates to drainage design. A good course for all stormwater engineers.
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(no title provided)
Pete H.
09/06/2014
All the information in the course was applicable, clear, and well presented.
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Consultant -N.J.
anonymous
02/13/2014
The material was detailed , thorough, and gave a comprehensive review of the topic with both knowledge and experience factored into the material/questions.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
01/19/2014
good course. Mentions that for discharge to tidal water, many agencies specify mean high water as a tailwater elevation. This is not appropriate for many of the reasons mentioned in the course. Drainage systems, particularly those with retention, discharge over a long period of time, and high tide, typically twice a day, will exceed mean high water half the time. In addition, higher than normal tides are often associated with storm events. The tailwater for these systems should be the high tide with the same recurrence interval as the design event, but it may be desireable to include a control so that flows are not excessive at low tide.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
09/23/2013
Some of the questions were tricky! I felt as if I were sitting taking the PE exam again.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
08/28/2013
Didn't realize this course was going to be referring to Florida design standards as much, but still good.
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Good, Comprehensive Course
David Fantina
08/21/2013
This course covers all of the basic principals required in determining tailwater and gives some good examples.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
08/19/2013
Difficult in the flow of the text versus the test.

Use of different words in the test than in the text
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(no title provided)
John Kelly
01/29/2013
Information was good and informative.

SunCam Comment: A portion of this review was deleted because it discussed answers to one of the questions
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Engineer's Responsibilty
anonymous
01/27/2013
Prior to semiretirement I was registered in several states, including North Carolina, some of which required no stormwater permitting or the most cursory review.

Consequently it was incumbent upon the engineer to estimaate possible stormwater impact(s) upon adjacent propertie(s). I think that the design engineer's responsibility should be emphasized more strongly for his and his firm's, (if any) sake.

Otherwise, I found the course informative and a good resource.
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(no title provided)
Ryan S. Wright, P.E.
02/02/2011
A very good reminder of the perils of not adequately considering tailwater conditions in hydraulic design.
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Good info
John Mueller
01/23/2011
I just moved to central Florida from N. Florida where tailwater concerns are rare. Helped me out with a few things I am working on right now.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
11/07/2010
The material was in-depth, easy to review and practical. The effort was about right for a 4 pdh course.
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(no title provided)
anonymous
09/09/2010
good overview of the issues. I have seen the exact examples in actual practice.
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Price: $29.95
Special Price Expires: 1/25/2019
Quantity:
Course Code: 100201-01
Course PDH Hours: 4
Engineering Course Approvals
  • This course is accepted for engineering continuing education credit in all states.
  • Ohio rules allow only 6-hours of unsupervised online courses such as this course per license renewal period

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For fastest service please enter your question or issue in the text box below. Enter your name and email address so we can reply. Be sure to give us enough info to identify the course or order that you need help with.

You may also call us at: 561-753-0105