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.
Steven Rosin and Chen Han Shan
Tailings dam rehabilitation is a major challenge for the mining industry in China requiring a multi-disciplinary approach. A team of Chinese and Australian professionals have recently completed a 4-year project to develop guidelines for rehabilitation procedures for tailings dams in China.
This paper focuses on the geotechnical stability issues that were required to be addressed as part of dam rehabilitation assessment. It also discusses Chinese practices in tailings dam design and operation considered for the assessment. Three case studies are presented from sites in various parts of China.
David S. Bowles, Andrew M. Parsons, Loren R. Anderson and Terry F. Glover
This paper summarises the Portfolio Risk Assessment (PRA) process that was implemented for SA Water’s 17 large dams, the information obtained from the PRA, and its use by SA Water. The PRA was designed to provide a baseline assessment of the existing dams and an initial prioritisation of future investigations and possible risk reduction measures. The PRA comprised a reconnaissance-level engineering assessment and risk assessment. These assessments were performed for floods, earthquakes, and static loading. Various structural and non-structural risk reduction measures were developed and evaluated. Information from the PRA can be used to provide inputs to capital budgeting, due diligence and liability evaluations, contingency planning and business criticality assessment, evaluation of loss financing and insurance programs, and a firm basis for monitoring and surveillance, operations and maintenance, and emergency preparedness planning.
D. C. Green
The disaggregation of public water supply bodies in recent years has seen the functions of ownership, design and operation transferred to separate bodies. Consequently , issues of risk management associated with legal liability which previously could be ignored because all risks were absorbed in -house must now be faced and addressed in a more formal way.
This paper looks firstly at the general principles of legal liability for dam performance associated with construction and design, ownership of an existing dam and monitoring of its performance. Liability under several different areas of the law is discussed. Special issues associated with “design and construct” contracts are then highlighted, and warnings are given for project sponsors who control the letting of contracts and the briefing of consultants.
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.
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.