Since the research and development work carried out by the (then) Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board for the strengthening of Manly Dam in 1979/80, there has been over twenty years of continuous improvement in the application of advanced post-tensioned anchors for gravity dam rehabilitation.
Up until the Manly Dam remedial works, concerns had been increasing as to the long-term viability of available anchors. Sophisticated monitorable and restressable anchors, with superior corrosion protection afforded by greased and sheathed strands, were developed initially in test-bed conditions. This style of anchor has subsequently been used extensively throughout Australia on dam upgrades.
This paper compares the claims made by the designers with the demonstrated outcomes of installations that have been achieved, with particular emphasis on dams now owned by the Sydney Catchment Authority and Sydney Water Corporation. The original commitments to economy, aesthetics and rapidity of construction have been borne out by experience, with additional environmental advantages also being achieved. With the confidence built up from many successes in the strengthening of older dams, the time appears right to revisit the construction of new dams using the same style of post-tensioned anchors as the primary stabilising force.
Krey Price, Mike Harvey, Bob Mussetter, Stuart Trabant
The California Department of Water Resources, Division of Dam Safety (DWR-DSD), has determined that San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River in Monterey County, California, does not meet seismic safety standards. Several alternatives have been considered to decommission the dam and eliminate the hazard, including thickening of the 25-m-high, concrete arch structure, lowering the dam, and complete removal. At the present time, the upstream reservoir that had an original storage capacity of about 1.8 GL, is essentially filled with sediment. The 29-km reach of the Carmel River between the dam and the Pacific Ocean passes through urbanised areas within the upscale Carmel Valley; flooding and channel stability in these areas are significant concerns. The Carmel River also contains habitat for the endangered steelhead and red-legged frog that could be positively or negatively affected by the decommissioning.
After an extensive series of hydraulic and sediment transport modelling studies, two actions remain under consideration: (1) dam thickening, which will require reconstruction of the existing fish ladder and construction of an adjacent, 3-metre diameter sluice gate to prevent sediment build-up from blocking the ladder outlet, and (2) removal of the dam and rerouting the river into a tributary branch of the reservoir, which would isolate approximately 65 percent of the existing sediment deposits from future river flows and eliminate a significant fish-passage problem. Both options were modelled extensively in hydrologic, hydraulic, and sediment transport applications. Since available models do not adequately represent sediment dynamics at the sluice gate, a special sediment routing model was formulated to evaluate this aspect of Option 1. Option 2 is currently preferred by the resource agencies, since it would optimise endangered species habitat; however, this option would be three to four times more expensive than Option 1, and funding limitations may impact the alternative selection. Evaluation efforts are ongoing, along with approaches to address liability issues associated with the decommissioning actions for the privately owned facility, while optimising the benefits and costs of the selected action.
Modelling Studies to Design and Assess Decommissioning Actions for a Seismically Unsafe, Concrete Arch Dam
George Bolliger and Clare Bales
Traditionally, the dams engineering profession has been a career path for engineers of civil/structural or geotechnical persuasion. As dams are constructed there is understandably a predominate focus on the civil requirements. Beyond the first few years of the dam’s life, effective operation and maintenance becomes increasingly important. A number of mechanical/electrical components and plant items form part of the critical infrastructure of the dam. A good maintenance routine is an essential requirement of the dam safety management program.
State Water Corporation, as the owner of 20 large dams and over 280 weir and regulator structures, runs a dam safety management program that is in line with the Australian National Committee on Large Dams Guidelines and NSW Dams Safety Committee requirements. The maintenance procedures and outcomes are audited through an internal maintenance audit program.
The maintenance audits form an integral part of the total asset management plan as well as the dam safety program. They are used to identify areas of strength as well as common errors or defects. Using State Water’s internal maintenance audits as case studies, the paper elaborates the role of maintenance audit program in enabling a cultural change to further include mechanical/electrical aspects and thereby enhance the longevity and safety of the assets.
Cultural Change – A Mechanical Perspective on Dam Safety Management
Conrad Ginther, Colleen Stratford
The Wyaralong Dam Alliance (WDA), a consortium of seven engineering and contracting companies, was contracted to design and construct the Wyaralong Dam, which impounds the Teviot Brook 14 km from Beaudesert in Queensland, Australia. The dam is an approximately 500 metre long, 48 metre high Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) structure built on a foundation generally consisting of massive sandstone with intermittent conglomerate zones consisting of cemented gravels, mudclasts and sands. Geologic features of note with regard to dam stability and long term seepage at the site are dominated by downstream sloping bedding features and conglomerate zones. In addition to the bedding-related features, two predominant vertical to subvertical fracture sets exist. The condition of the vertical fractures ranges from tight and fresh at depth to highly weathered and filled with dispersive clay and gravels near the foundation surface. To provide a durable and effective long term seepage barrier for the dam, an extensive foundation cleaning and treatment operation was undertaken. This comprised drilling, blasting, and excavation of the majority of the highly weathered rock and dispersive materials supplemented by localized installation of small cut-offs and dental concrete and the construction of a double-line grout curtain installed using real time computer monitoring, the GIN methodology, and balanced, stable grout mixes.
Foundation Preparation and Seepage Barrier Installation at Wyaralong Dam Construction Project
Bruce Brown, Mark Coghill
Tailings management practices have evolved significantly over the last 30 to 40 years with emphasis on long term geotechnical and geochemical stability to meet community expectations and company liabilities. The main drivers have been environmental protection both during operations and post closure, public safety and water conservation. Mining companies have become aware of the significant risks resulting from the operation of tailings facilities with a number of high profile failures occurring in recent times. The common practice of building a containment structure and depositing tailings as unthickened slurry is being challenged and tested against alternative tailings treatment technologies. These include high rate thickening, paste thickening and filtration. The potential benefits of these technologies include significant reduction in process water losses, reduced design duties for the confinement structures and improved conditions for closure. Notwithstanding these potential benefits, very few facilities have implemented the new technologies due to economic constraints imposed by the evaluation methods used by the mining industry. This paper summarises the available tailings treatment technologies and the resulting implications for tailings facility design. It reviews the benefits and critiques the economic evaluation method currently in use and recommends that the industry changes its evaluation methodology to drive future trends.
Tailings Storage, Current and Future Trends