John Phillips, Yu Sheng, Jennifer Henderson
The main iron ore body at Cockatoo Island in the West Kimberleys forms a cliff face plunging steeply into the sea. It was mined by BHP down to low tide level, but the tidal range of 10 metres hampered operations. Being a very pure and sought after ore, various investigations were made to determine methods of extracting the ore below the sea. A coffer dam into the sea was investigated with the conclusion that the soft marine sediments and apparent artesian groundwater in the foundation posed a major risk and high costs.
The mine was sold to a smaller company who proceeded to win useful ore from the island. They also eyed off the undersea ore and approached GHD to use soft ground technology developed for the Derby Tidal Power Project. The soft marine sediments and apparent artesian groundwater conditions were investigated.
The paper describes the design processes involved to achieve dam stability in a space limited by lease boundaries and the desire to maximise the amount of ore that could be accessed. A key to the process was the development of construction techniques and core placement procedures that could cope with the tidal range. Timing aspects were crucial and were controlled by observations of an extensive array of instruments installed for control purposes.
By 1976 head loss in the 23 km long 750/900 mm diameter CLMS pipeline from Eppalock Reservoir to Bendigo had increased from 45.7 m to 98.2 m (115%) after only 12 years service. The cause was identified as increased friction from soft voluminous iron and manganese bacterial slime building up on the pipe walls and increasing the friction. Inspection of the drained pipes in the dry gave little indication of the problem since the slime consolidated to an innocuous looking thin smooth coating as it dried.
1960 studies by Tyler and Mitchell at the University of Tasmania for the Hydro-Electric Commission had shown that the micro-organisms producing these slime growths were present in all pipelines. However they required the presence of iron and manganese in the water to flourish and produce flow reduction. Remobilisation from oxygen deficient bottom sediments was shown in the 1940’s by Pearsall and Mortimer in England to be a major source of iron and manganese in reservoir water and this could be controlled if sufficient dissolved oxygen could be provided to convert the reducing conditions at the sediments to oxidising conditions.
An experimental aeration system designed by the author was operated in the 180,000 ML Eppalock Reservoir for 19 days during March 1977. This mixed the reservoir to the depth of the aerators (24 m) increasing the low 10% saturation dissolved oxygen at this depth to a high 94% saturation thereby changing chemical conditions from reducing to oxidising. As a result the iron concentration in the surface water decreased from 2.04 mg/L to 0.54 mg/L but there was little change in the pre-aeration 0.03 mg/L manganese concentration with this short period of aeration. The iron concentration in the water flowing in the pipeline changed from 1.78 mg/l to 0.57 mg/l.
The problem of pipe flow reduction from bacterial slime growth on the pipe walls is discussed in this paper and examples are given of the use of automatic reservoir aeration to overcome the problem including costs and results.
Hydro Tasmania has recently developed a Dam Safety Emergency Plan, which covers 54 referable dams throughout Tasmania. A major contribution was the development of the Pieman River flood warning system. The flood warning system is a computer-based model that forecasts the hydrological situation of the catchment up to 48 hours into the future and alarms the appropriate personnel when a flood event is imminent. The Pieman River catchment experiences some of the highest average annual rainfalls in Tasmania and contains dams in the High Hazard category. The flood warning system was developed using Hydstra Modelling™ (formerly TimeStudio), which links directly to the Hydstra TSM™ database. This package offers powerful automation tools that enable the Pieman River flood warning system to operate, alert personnel and display results on Hydro Tasmania’s internal website with no manual involvement. With its maintenance free operation and user-friendly interfaces, the Pieman River flood warning system is an effective contribution towards the overall risk management package of the Pieman River Power Development.
David Ho, Karen Boyes, Shane Donohoo and Brian Cooper
Many dam structures in Australia were designed and built in the 1950s and 60s with limited hydrological information. As a result existing spillway structures are under-sized for today’s revised probable maximum floods (PMF). Potential problems such as the generation of excessive negative pressure over spillway crest under increased flood condition could be encountered. This may cause instability or cavitation damage to the spillway. The raised flow profile may also have adverse impacts on crest bridges and gate structures.
Historically, physical models have been constructed in hydraulic laboratories to study these behaviours, but they are expensive, time-consuming and there are many difficulties associated with scaling effects. Today, with the use of high-performance computers and more efficient computational fluid dynamics (CFD) codes, the behaviour of hydraulic structures can be investigated numerically in reasonable time and expense.
This paper describes the two- and three-dimensional CFD modelling of spillway behaviour under rising flood levels. The results have been validated against published data and good agreement was obtained. The technique has been applied to investigate several spillway structures in Australia.
Lake Bellfield is a reserve storage for the Wimmera Mallee Water (WMW) Stock and Domestic System in North Western Victoria, constructed between 1963 and 1967. The dam is located on Fyans Creek approximately 3 km upstream from Halls Gap in an area of high tourist value and is rated in the Extreme category under ANCOLD guidelines. The dam consists of an earth and rockfill embankment 745 m long with a maximum height of 57 metres and retains a reservoir with a storage capacity of 78,500 ML.
Previous studies and a subsequent physical model study confirmed that the existing spillway does not meet the requirements of the current ANCOLD guidelines. The current flood capacity is approximately 40% of the Probable Maximum Flood. A range of potential upgrade options to pass the PMF were evaluated with a 1.9 metre composite earthfill and downstream concrete parapet wall raise in combination with spillway lowering of 3.4 metres selected. Construction of this option was completed in early 2003.
This paper describes the key features of the investigation and design including:
• a physical model study,
• evaluation of various options based on technical, financial, environmental and social criteria,
• design of the earthfill-parapet raise in the limited area available on the crest to provide full filter protection, acceptable short and long term deformations and adequate long term access to the dam and its associated structures, and
• design of the spillway cut including excavation and stabilisation in the very strong and abrasive Grampians Sandstone.
Cairn Curran Dam is a 44m high zoned earthfill embankment located near Bendigo in central
Victoria. The dam is owned and operated by Goulburn-Murray Water.
A risk assessment had identified that the junction between the embankment and spillway wall was a weakness in regard to the potential for piping. Initial geotechnical investigations indicated a softened zone adjacent to the foundation.
The conceptual upgrade design was to excavate the downstream slope and place filter material and a rockfill weighting berm. A 2-D slope stability analysis gave unacceptably low factors of safety for this excavation. The three dimensional nature of the embankment/spillway interface and excavation geometry was identified as an important factor in the upgrade design.
A detailed geotechnical assessment was undertaken and a geotechnical model developed that
accounted for potential softened zones adjacent to the spillway wall, along the foundation, and within the embankment.
A 3-D limit equilibrium slope stability program was utilised to analyse the 3-D factors of safety. The
program employed an extension of Bishop’s method of slices to a 3-D ‘method of columns’. A 3-D
finite element analysis was also undertaken to estimate likely deformations of the embankment and cut slope during construction.
The development of the geotechnical model and subsequent analysis allowed the upgrade works to be undertaken with confidence.