This paper describes the use of a high strength woven geotextile and preloading to stabilise the surface of a very low strength tailings pond, and the incorporation of a geosynthetic clay liner (GCL) within the final capping design to complete closure. The pond, which contains tin and copper tailings, formed the lower tailings containment area of a three-tiered tailings storage, located directly above the Wild River in North Queensland. Stabilising the lower pond (area 2,500 m2), which contained tailings of “zero strength” in the central area involved the placement of a woven geotextile over the surface, which was anchored around the perimeter. The placement of finger berms (preloading fill) on the geotextile was successful without exceeding the bearing capacity of the tailings overall. Settlements of the berms were closely monitored to allow the system to support construction plant. After the finger berms were joined, they were widened until the area was covered. A sand layer was then placed over the area followed by a GCL to form an impermeable barrier prior to the placement of clay and topsoil.
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The use of risk analysis for dam safety is becoming more widespread. Dam owners are increasingly aware of the need for information on current and emerging practices from the world scene to determine how to proceed with the use of risk assessment. The paper summarises the findings of a Churchill Fellowship study into risk assessment for dam safety management. Dam owners, regulators and consultants from the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United States and Canada were consulted for the study. Conclusions are drawn from the findings and recommendations made for future development.
Glen Hobbs and Danny Azavedo
Recent years have seen a growing awareness and understanding of the factors that contribute to the reliability of spillway gates and the incorporation of reliability data into overall dam risk studies.
The study of a number of spillway gate failures shows that no one component or incident leads to gate failure, but rather a combination of factors have resulted in gate failure. A rigorous reliability assessment should consider all factors, not only the equipment condition and performance but the complete system, from the receipt of data through to the actuation of the gates. It should take into account issues such as human factors, poor design, maintenance history and policy. Unfortunately one of the main hindrances to quantifying gate reliability is the lack of information on spillway gate equipment and system performance and failures.
This paper considers a number of gate failures, then looks at some of the tools of reliability assessment and the role of human factors in gate reliability.
The paper then discusses a recent study of four gated dams. For this study a systems approach was adopted and human factors were considered. The results compare favourably with other similar critical structures, and show that for these well designed and maintained structures human factors are the limiting criteria in multiple gate operations. The study also shows that the probability of opening all the spillway gates at a dam improves with time (2-4 hours) during the flood operation, and it is considered that time based reliability provides a more meaningful and useful assessment of overall spillway gate reliability.
The Victorian Water Industry Seismic Network was substantially upgraded in 1999. This paper will look at the design and outcomes of the seismic network from a risk management and emergency management perspective. Funding issues for a diversified network providing benefits to a range of clients within the one industry group will also be discussed.
Prior to 1999 the Victorian seismic network had been developed on an ad hoc basis resulting in an incomplete level of seismic coverage throughout the state. The upgraded network now provides sufficient coverage to provide an intensity based alarm service for all contributing Victorian Water Authorities.
Community expectations of essential service providers such as the water industry are that they will carry out their own risk management to provide for service continuity and sustainability and that they will contribute to emergency management processes because it is in their own best interest to do so.
The risk management model looks at creating resilient communities through planning for the four R’s. Reduction, Readiness, Response and Recovery. The Seismology Research Centre’s Earthquake Preparation Alarm and Response system (EPAR) deals with the four R’s in relation to seismic hazard.
The EPAR system contributes to the risk management processes of identifying risks and vulnerability’s; potential consequences; and mitigation opportunities. The EPAR system additionally contributes to the emergency management processes of crisis response, impact assessment and recovery.
I. R. Forster
Lyell Dam is a concrete-faced rockfill dam, located on the Coxs River, near Lithgow, NSW. The dam forms part of the Coxs River Water Supply Scheme, which supplies water to Delta Electricity’s Wallerawang and Mount Piper Power Stations. In 1994, the spillway capacity of the dam was upgraded, and the storage augmented with the addition of two 40 m long by 3.5 m high inflatable rubber dams to the spillway crest. An automatic deflation system, controlled by a programmable logic controller, was installed to provide a staged bag deflation sequence during flooding, and hence minimise the downstream impact of rubber dam operation.
Although the rubber dams and control system initially operated as designed, more recently, two uncontrolled bag deflations have occurred, which have caused flooding downstream and loss of significant storage volumes. In the first incident, a spontaneous uncontrolled deflation of the rubber dams released about 1600 ML, before the bags re-inflated automatically. An investigation revealed that the incident was most likely the result of design deficiencies in the control system. Recommendations were made for improvements to the system.
During the most recent deflation, one of the rubber dams failed by spontaneous rupture, and approximately 6000 ML of water was released from the dam. The Dam Safety Emergency Plan was activated to ensure persons at risk downstream were notified of the impending flood wave. A post- failure inspection of the ruptured bag suggested that the likely cause of failure was a manufacturing defect, which allowed air to penetrate the layers of rubber forming the bag. The rupture most likely occurred when the resulting air pocket expanded on exposure to the sun.
The paper examines the two deflation incidents in detail, and analyses the emergency response to the second incident.
P.J. Ritchie and N.A. Currey
Kidston Gold Mines commenced operations in 1984 and built a dam to safely store the tailing waste from the ore processing. The dam was progressively raised 5 times (3 downstream and 2 centreline lifts) and has an active surface area of 310 hectares; stores 66 Mt of tailing and is 32 metres high at its maximum height. The dam was decommissioned in September 1997.
Rehabilitation planning for the tailing dam commenced in 1994 with an 11 hectare direct revegetation trial established in March of that year. A 40 ha trial was established in 1998. Both sites have been the subject of intensive scientific research by the (University of Queensland) Centre for Mined Lands Research group. This research assisted in understanding the issues of revegetation stability and sustainability, biological cycling, soil chemistry and surface erosion.
The aims of rehabilitation is to meet the Queensland Department of Mines and Energy (DME) key closure criteria. These include; creating a stable landform, not only for the dam wall structure but also of low surface erodibility, maintenance of acceptable downstream water quality by controlling poor quality seepage and runoff and by meeting an acceptable final end land use criteria for the structure.
Ongoing research is addressing the long term hydrology of the tailing dam with an aim towards understanding the overall water balance. Three consulting groups are involved in what is considered to be a novel approach. Evapotranspiration rates from pasture and tree species have been measured during the 1999 wet and dry season. This information, along with climatic and soil suction data is then used as one of the key parameters for the unsaturated zone modeling. One output from the “Soilcover” model is seepage into the saturated zone in the tailing dam. Water movements in the saturated zone are being modelled using Modflow. The acid oxidation potential for the dam is also being evaluated in light of the long term water movements in the saturated and unsaturated zones of the dam. This process will allow short and long term prediction of dam seepage quality and quantities.
The geotechnical stability of the final dam wall structure as defined by the Factor of Safety, ranged from 2.0 to 2.3, which meets the long term DME recommended stability target FOS of 1.5 for slopes.
In order to evaluate the impact of metal toxicities in grazing cattle, a grazing trial has been established on the pasture covering the surface sediments of the tailing dam. This work is being supported by the Qld EPA, Qld DME, Qld Health and the NRCET, and will assist in understanding metal uptake in grazing animals on rehabilitated mined lands.