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A spillway is a structure used to provide the controlled release of flows from a dam or levee into a downstream area, typically the riverbed of the dammed river itself. In the UK they may be known as overflow channels. Spillways ensure that the water does not overflow and damage or destroy the dam.


Radial gates are rotary gates consisting of cylindrical sections. They may rotate vertically or horizontally. Tainter gates are a vertical design that rotates up to allow water to pass underneath. Low friction trunnion bearings, along with a face shape that balances hydrostatic forces, allow this design to close under its own weight as a safety feature.