Free Overfall (Straight Drop) Spillway

Free Overfall (Straight Drop) Spillway

  • In this type of spillway, the water freely drops down from the crest, as for an arch dam (Figure 1). It can also be provided for a decked overflow dam with a vertical or adverse inclined downstream face (Figure 2). Flows may be free discharging, as will be the case with a sharp crested weir or they may be supported along a narrow section of the crest. Occasionally, the crest is extended in the form of an overhanging lip (Figure 3) to direct small discharges away from the face of the overfall section. In free falling water is ventilated sufficiently to prevent a pulsating, fluctuating jet.


  • Where artificial protection is provided at the loose, as in Figure 3, the bottom may not scour but scour may occur for unprotected streambeds which will form deep plunge pool (Figure 4). The volume and the depth of the scour hole are related to the range of discharges, the height of the drop, and the depth of tail water. Where erosion cannot be tolerated an artificial pool can be created by constructing an auxiliary dam downstream of the main structure, or by excavating a basin which is then provided with a concrete apron or bucket.