Andrew Pattle and Bram Knoop
This paper provides an outline of a process that can be used to optimise regular dam surveillance and monitoring activities. The process is applicable for a wide range of dam types that an owner/operator may be responsible for. Basic assessments are made of inherent reliability and potential consequences of failure using key factors such as construction features, foundation conditions and observed performance. The key factors are combined to give a relative risk ranking for each dam. These rankings are used to determine specific dam monitoring schedules. The process focuses the monitoring effort on those dams that are perceived to constitute the greatest portion of the overall risk. The methodology is simple and provides a cost-effective framework for setting appropriate resourcing levels for dam monitoring.
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Richard I Herweynen
For concrete gravity dams, when the foundation’s value of cohesion is low, it is very difficult to meet the sliding criteria proposed by ANCOLD. Low cohesion is generally associated with serious foundation defects. This was the case for Meadowbank Dam, with a foundation having persistent horizontal seams containing material of a clayey silt size classification. By adopting the ANCOLD strength reduction factors, it was found that a large number of ground anchors would be required to meet the ANCOLD sliding criteria. During original design, extensive laboratory and insitu testing was performed on the seam material. This paper proposes a methodology for arriving at less severe strength reduction factors based upon a statistical analysis of the strength parameters measured in the Meadowbank Dam foundation.
Additionally, a probabilistic approach using a Monte Carlo simulation is used to give further weight to this argument. This paper concludes that the probability of Meadowbank Dam failing due to sliding is very low and within acceptable limits.
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.
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”.
Increasingly, owners of ageing dams are having to reconcile with the notion of involving others in decisions affecting the management of their dams. Previously recognised as ‘expert’ exclusive arenas, doctors, lawyers, scientists and engineers are now expected to respond to enquiring consumers and communities. Individuals and communities are expressing their need to share responsibilities.
Events at Hume Dam provide an illustration of the potential challenges and opportunities that all Dam Owners may face. This paper is a narrative of the processes of involving the wider ‘community’ in the Hume Dam remedial work project. It remains for the stakeholders to rate the effectiveness of the process.
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.