C.F. Wan, R. Fell, M.A. Foster
This paper presents the findings of experimental investigation of the rate of piping erosion of soils conducted at the University of New South Wales.
Two tests, namely the Slot Erosion Test and the Hole Erosion Test, have been developed to study the erosion characteristics of a soil. The erosion characteristics are described by the Erosion Rate Index, which indicates the rate of erosion due to fluid traction, and the Critical Shear Stress, which represents the minimum shear stress when erosion starts. Results of the two laboratory erosion tests are strongly correlated. Values of the Erosion Rate Index span from 0 to 6, indicating that two soils can differ in their rates of erosion by up to 106 times. Coarse-grained soils, in general, are less erosion-resistant than fine-grained soils. The Erosion Rate Indices of coarse-grained cohesionless soils show good correlation with the fines and clay contents, and the degree of saturation of the soils, whereas the Erosion Rate Indices of fine-grained cohesive soils show moderately good correlation with the degree of saturation. The absence of smectites and vermiculites, and apparently the presence of cementing materials, such as iron oxides, improves the erosion resistance of a fine-grained soil.
The Hole Erosion Test is proposed as a simple index test for quantifying the rate of piping erosion in a soil, and for finding the approximate Critical Shear Stress corresponding to initiation of piping erosion. Knowledge of these erosion characteristics of the core soil of an embankment dam aids assessment of the likelihood of dam failure due to piping erosion in a risk assessment process.
Bob Wark, Colin Bradbury, Michael Somerford and Michelle Rhodes
The Harvey Dam project is a major component of the Water Corporation’s Stirling-Harvey Redevelopment Scheme, which was developed to provide potable water to Perth. The scheme will deliver 34 GL/annum or about 10% of Perth’s supply. The project timetable was tight. The decision to proceed with the scheme, made in June 1998, required Harvey Dam to be ready to impound water by June 2002.
Construction of the Harvey Dam was complicated by the following:
These and other issues required the development of risk management strategies for the project. The construction risks were allocated within the contract to provide for an equitable sharing of risk between the Contractor and the Principal. The paper describes the development and implementation of the risk management strategies and what lessons have been learnt from the process.
David Brett, Anton van Velden and Phil Soden
The Main Creek Tailings Dam is a 60m high earth and rockfill dam constructed during the early 1980’s to store tailings from the Savage River Mine on Tasmania’s west coast. The dam served the mine well for nearly 20 years, storing around 32 million m3 of tailings, but has required raising due to the expanded mining plans of the current operators, Australian Bulk Minerals (ABM). ABM believe that the mine could require a further 60 million m3 of tailings storage over the next twenty years at increased production levels. This could be stored in the Main Creek Dam by raising it by around 35m. In the medium term this scale of raising would be feasible using waste rock product from ongoing mining but in the short term of several years an interim solution would be required. The feasibility of upstream construction on the tailings beach was reviewed and found feasible for
a maximum 12m in 4 lifts.
Of critical concern were
The paper discusses the investigation and design phases of the dam and describes the issues arising during construction recently completed over the period January to April 2002. The use of pore pressure, shear strength changes and tailings beach movement monitoring to control construction is discussed.
Brian Walford and Ross Killick
Increasing salinity in Australian river systems is a major issue that is attracting attention from politicians, environmentalists and the wider community. The successful coexistence of mining and agriculture in the Hunter Valley has resulted in the need to tackle river salinity with a cooperative approach to not only contain salinity, but also reduce it. Mining companies have participated in the development of a tradeable emission scheme to manage the discharge of surplus saline water, resulting in the construction of mine water dams that are designed to release a large volume of saline water in 2– 3 days.
Paul W. Heinrichs & John Bosler
Spring Creek Dam is a 16m high zoned earthfill dam with a central vertical concrete core wall storing 4700 ML for Orange City Council’s water supply. It was a 14.5m high dam constructed in 1931 and in 1947 was raised by 1.0m. In 1966 after a week of heavy rain following a long dry spell, an 80m section of the downstream face slumped but the dam fortuitously survived. In 1969 the dam was re-constructed but no internal drain/filter was installed.
Following the 1994 dam surveillance report, piezometers were installed in the downstream fill. Drilling for these revealed that a substantial portion of the zone downstream of the core wall was saturated. The piezometers recorded piezometric elevations that closely and rapidly followed the reservoir level. Subsequent site investigations identified pockets of very low strength fill immediately downstream of the core wall. It was concluded that the core wall was seriously compromised and the storage level was subsequently, significantly lowered, as an interim dam safety measure.
Dambreak studies indicated the dam is a high hazard and hydrological studies found that the spillway capacity was inadequate.
This paper details the problems involved, their analyses, and the remedial measures proposed at the concept design stage. These include a chimney filter/drain, a stabilising fill combined with embankment crest raising and the construction of a 3-bay fuse plug auxiliary spillway.
D. J. Dole, D. Dreverman and A. J. McLeod
The Murray-Darling Basin Commission is embarking on an ambitious project directed towards repairing the environmental damage to the River Murray, caused by a century of human intervention. Today the River Murray is one of the more highly regulated rivers in the world, with only a 27% natural annual median flow to the sea.
In April 2002 the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council approved, in–principle, a program of structural works from Dartmouth Dam to the Murray Mouth, including the lower Darling downstream from the Menindee Lakes. The initial phase is estimated to cost $150 million over 7 years. At the same time the Council has authorised studies of the environmental, social and economic impacts of 3 scenarios involving recovery of 350 GL, 750 GL and 1500 GL per year from existing uses, for reallocation to the environment.
This paper describes some of the key projects in the portfolio of works under consideration, including:
The paper also outlines the extensive stakeholder consultation and community engagement processes which are fundamental to the success of the project, as well as the various means adopted to enhance the links between scientists and engineers involved in the project.