Steve Everitt, Ron Fleming, Lelio Mejia
The Electricity Corporation of New Zealand Ltd (ECNZ) is strengthening its Matahina Dam which is an 80 m high, 400 m long rockfill dam impounding a 60 million cubic metre reservoir. The strengthening is to ensure the dam will withstand potential fault displacement within the dam foundation.
ECNZ’s management of the project is described from the design and consents phase through to construction. Key issues are discussed which have contributed to the success of the project such as management structure, the International Review Board, the design process and risk management.
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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.
M Scuero and Gabriella L Vaschetti
The use of watertight synthetic geomembranes as waterproofing and protection elements for all types of dams started in Europe in the late 1950s and has since been widely applied all over the world as long term repair measure, or as the only element providing watertightness since the design and construction stage.
Leonard A McDonald and Chi Fai Wan
A risk assessment has been undertaken as part of a comprehensive review of the safety of Hume Dam. Use of risk assessment techniques, to assist in evaluating the safety of existing dams, is a relatively recent trend. Hume Dam was a particularly challenging subject for the application of risk assessment techniques at their present stage of development. The challenge lay in the number and diversity of dam elements to be analysed, in the number and complexity of the potential failure modes and in the fact that there were significant safety issues under normal operating conditions.
This paper outlines some of the key lessons learned from that phase of the risk assessment that was concerned with estimating the chance of dam failure. Some of the issues discussed have not previously been addressed in the literature and some demonstrate a clear need for improved analysis procedures.
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.
Brian A Forbes and Jon T Williams
The 43 metre high Cadiangullong Dam was constructed during 1997-1998 to supply untreated water for the Newcrest Cadia gold mine near Orange in NSW. The placement of the 110,000 m3 of RCC was performed without expensive thermal control techniques in an area of extreme climate conditions. Thermal finite element studies were undertaken during design to assess the effect of the climate extremes on construction and assist in the design of contraction joints. An RCC mix with sand proportions in excess of 50% of the fully crushed aggregate by weight was used to eliminate segregation. This also had the effect of requiring a low compaction effort to achieve density but exhibited a sheared surface texture if placed over wet. Following full scale trials the conventional concrete facing was superseded during the early stages of construction with an in situ modified RCC facing. The modified RCC consisted of a grout enriched internally vibrated RCC (GE-RCC) to provide a durable, impervious upstream face. This paper discusses the details of these three aspects and provides design, construction and performance data to date.