A dam owner is often surprised to learn that his dam has been listed on a heritage register. This is often the first indication that the dam has heritage significance.
This paper discusses the different types of heritage listing and what the implications are for an owner. It suggests that a prudent owner will find out whether he needs a heritage conservation plan, particularly where redevelopment or remedial work at the dam is contemplated. The paper describes the content of a typical conservation plan for a large dam and how it is implemented.
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Raymond A. Stewart
On I7 June 1996 while investigating a small pothole on the crest 183 m high Bennett Dam an unexpected crest collapse occurred resulting in a large sinkhole. Following this incident the safety status of the dam was uncertain. The reservoir was lowered by 2 m over a six week period by spilling up to 5,000 m 3 over the spillway and through the turbines.
An unprecedented dam investigation commenced immediately and was completed December 1996. During drilling a second sinkhole was discovered at another location on the dam.
A sophisticated compaction grouting technique was developed to remediate the sinkholes to the depth of 5 m and the work was successfully completed by 1997. -The reservoir was returned to service in time to collect the freshet in spring 1997. This event was the most dam safety concern in the history of BC Hydro operations.
This paper describes how B.C. Hydro managed the crisis, and the subsequent safety assessment.
Alkali-aggregate reaction (AAR) is a potentially deleterious process in concrete containing reactive aggregates, and can lead to varying degrees of cracking in structures, and differential movement and misalignment of concrete elements and mechanical installations. The rehabilitation of affected structures would require information on the extent of current damage and possibility of on-going damage that could be caused by AAR.
Information on the characterisation of concrete components of an AAR-affected dam and estimation of their future potential for further expansion and cracking are provided and repair options discussed in this paper.
D.N.D. Hartford and R.A. Stewart
It seems perfectly logical, obviously desirable and apparently sensible to prioritise dam safety reviews, deficiency investigations and capitalised remediation projects in terms of risk. However, our experience in attempting to apply the various deterministic and risk- based approaches in prioritising dam safety activities has revealed that, while it may appear to be quite logical and desirable to prioritise in terms of risk, it is rather less feasible than it appears.
This paper explores why different prioritisation processes can lead to different priority rankings across the same portfolio of dams. B.C. Hydro’s Preliminary Risk Exposure Profile process, which utilises the best and most robust attributes of risk analysis process at the preliminary level but avoids the pitfalls associated with estimating risks which will often have little or even no basis is presented. The paper explains how this process provides a “fail-safe” backup which will identify non-conservative and erroneous facility risk estimates; thereby allowing for correction in a timely fashion. The paper also raises some awkward philosophical issues which the profession will have to address in order to permit confident dam safety decision-making on the basis of risk analyses. Not the least of these is the following issue – “If preliminary estimates of risk are reasonably good, then there should be little need for more detailed risk analysis for confident and defensible decisions concerning making or not making dam safety improvements”.
As New Zealand’s largest dam owner, ECNZ has actively managed dam safety since its inception in 1987. During this time it has managed several major dam safety issues and enhanced its dam safety management practices. This has occurred in an environment of organisational change and increasingly competitive commercial pressures.
The change in emphasis from a primarily technical emphasis to dam safety towards a commercial focus is described together with details of highly rated dam surveillance system, some continuous improvement initiatives, and recent enhancements to the dam safety programme. The position of responsible ownership in regard to risk and legal requirements is also discussed.
One of the most important issues during design and construction of an earthfill dam is how to secure a dam against unwanted events which may occur as a result of water flow (uncontrolled seepage, leakage & piping) through the dam.
Although earthfill dams are the largest by volume compared with other types of dams and they are designed to cope with seepage, their integrity is most sensitive to the effects which may be caused by it. The reason being that the earthfill materials are generally extremely heterogeneous and only one “unwanted” pocket is enough to create problems.
Another critical area is the foundation. In many situations it is not possible to avoid the complex geology which includes faults and joints as part of the foundation. An additional complication may be the presence of dispersive clay in the foundation.
In the area of tailings dams, the problems with seepage are slightly reduced as in most cases, tailings provide a degree of sealing. Tailings dams are very often designed as leaky dams. However, there is a hidden danger in approaching the design this way as at any stage of their lives they can retain water.
This paper presents two case histories of repairs carried out to tailings dams suffering leakage. One case describes leakage through the embankment wall while the other describes seepage through the foundation which contains dispersive soil.