Automated condition assessment of



The Mactaquac embankment dam, located 15km upstream from Fredericton in New Brunswick, stands at 31m in height and spans 202m in length. Serving as a crucial component, the Mactaquac Dam fulfills around 20% of New Brunswick’s electricity requirements, a significant asset in NB Power’s portfolio.​​


Alkali-aggregate reaction is shortening the dam’s lifespan by 40 years, now expected to expire in 2028 instead of 2068. Dam safety engineers face challenges in inspecting the deteriorating structure safely. NB Power estimates inspection costs at around half a million dollars due to difficult access. Custom scaffolding is needed for secure site access, and fieldwork will take 2-3 months.

The Dam is managed by New Brunswick Electric Power Corporation (NB Power) and was surveyed by Niricson to establish a data-driven condition assessment of the spillways at the dams to enhance dam safety reviews and inspections.


During the summer of 2021, Niricson presented its solution aimed at eradicating accessibility limitations, addressing safety issues, and obviating the necessity for intricate scaffolding. This solution not only enabled the team to streamline data collection but also offered a preliminary evaluation of the Mactaquac Dam’s condition.

In the fall of 2021, the team implemented DRONIC™ (patented multi-layered data collection and fusion architecture, along with a proprietary drone-equipped concrete sounding hammer), and AUTOSPEX™ (patent pending AI-backed platform for defect detection, quantification, and tracking for digital infrastructure condition survey) to collect and analyze three layers of data: Optical Images, Infrared Images, and Acoustic Signatures from the spillway, sluiceway, and gravity portion of the dam at Mactaquac to map and quantify the cracks, spalls, and delamination on the structure. ​

Utilizing AUTOSPEX™, NB Power’s Dam Safety team, consultants, maintenance crews, and relevant stakeholders can engage in remote collaboration via digital quantified defect maps. This allows them to pinpoint alterations and monitor the status of deterioration rates, thereby facilitating the scheduling of maintenance and repair tasks throughout the dam structure. Through the implementation of Niricson technology, NB Power succeded in:

  • Optimizing access to the structure, for a more accurate condition survey, while eliminating uncertainties and safety concerns
  • Creating a baseline for asset management, monitoring through time for better maintenance/rehab budget allocation.
  • Converting the results to the maintenance design plans for the structure

New Brunswick Power adopted a digital automated survey and monitoring system to enhance its comprehension of Mactaquac’s overall performance, thereby ensuring safe and reliable operations. Niricson’s solution effectively eradicated the requirement for expensive, ineffective, and hazardous rope access missions, while also furnishing NB Power with a comprehensive assessment and insight into the condition of the structure.