Due to its favourable characteristics the asphalt concrete facing (A-C) has been applied on numerous large dams around the world as an alternative watertight element to local materials such as clays and silts since 1929. Several performance issues of different origin have been experienced with this type of impervious element either at first filling of the reservoir or during service. As the primary causes of such case histories were identified, however, the design and application technology improved resulting in limited cases of damage without unknown primary damage mechanism. The paper offers a hypothesis of the primary cause of local damage of the A-C facing of the upper reservoirs of the pumped storage schemes based on the results of the microbiological analysis.

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