This paper presents the findings of experimental investigation of internal erosion by the process of suffusion within embankment dams and their foundations.
Suffusion is the process by which finer soil particles are moved through constrictions between larger soil particles by seepage forces. Soils susceptible to suffusion are usually described as internally unstable. Understanding of the suffusion process is important to the assessment of the risk of internal erosion in an embankment dam and its foundation. Suffusion results in a coarser soil structure, leading to increased seepage, progressive deterioration of the dam or its foundation, and a higher risk of toe instability. Suffusion within the protective filter of a dam may result in a coarser filter, rendering it ineffective in protecting the core materials from erosion.
Two types of suffusion tests, namely the downflow test and the upflow test, have been conducted at the University of New South Wales. The downflow test aims at identifying the types of soils that are susceptible to suffusion, whereas the upflow test aims at identifying the hydraulic gradient at which suffusion is initiated. This paper presents the initial findings of the downflow test. Eighteen downflow tests have been carried out on fourteen clay-silt-sand-gravel soils. The Kenney and Lau (1985, 86) method, which is commonly used for assessing the internal stability of coarse-grained soils, appears to be too conservative when used to predict the internal stability of silt-sand-gravel or clay-silt-sand- gravel soils, whereas the Burenkova (1993) method appears to provide better predictions. Further testing is required to define more accurate criteria for determining the internal stability of broadly-graded clay-silt-sand-gravel soils.
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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.
K. Chandler, D. Gill, B. Maher, S. Macnish and G. Roads
SEQWater is the major supplier of untreated water in bulk to Local Governments and industry in the South East Queensland region of Australia, through ownership of Wivenhoe, Somerset and North Pine Dams. Wivenhoe Dam (Lake Wivenhoe) is located on the Brisbane River in Esk Shire. The storage provides both flood mitigation and water supply storage to Brisbane and Ipswich. The water supply storage capacity at full supply level is 1,160 GL. An additional 1,450 GL of storage above full supply level is used for flood mitigation.
Changes to the estimation of extreme rainfall events has resulted in significant increases in the estimates of the PMF since the original design of Wivenhoe Dam. To upgrade the flood security of Wivenhoe Dam, SEQWater has formed an alliance with Leighton Contractors, Coffey Geosciences, MWH and the NSW Department of Commerce.
This paper details the alliance delivery method, the latest estimates of the PMF based on the GTSMR method and details of the two preferred options being finalised by the Alliance.
The RCC design review and construction supervision of the 60m high Tannur Dam in Jordan was carried out by GHD, Australia.
The 220,000m3 of RCC was placed during February-December 2000; change to the sloped layer method was made once the dam reached 15m height. It produced a 50% increase in placing rate and a considerable saving in costs.
The use of the method is the first known use outside of China, where it was developed during the construction of the 130m high Jiangya Dam in 1997-8. The sloping of the 300mm thick layers of RCC across the dam from bank to bank at grades between 5-8% ensures subsequent layers of RCC can be placed within the initial set time of the lower layer and hence the RCC is monolithic across the lift joint.
This paper briefly describes the project in Jordan and then gives specific details of the use of the sloped layer method. Typical results from the quality control testing during placement and subsequent coring and testing of the lift joints are also provided. The benefits of its use in adverse climatic conditions, such as extreme heat or rainfall and the ways it can be integrated with forming the upstream-downstream slope are also discussed.
The sloped layer method is a significant advancement, particularly for large structures, where lift joint cohesion, tensile resistance and RCC placing rates are vitally important.
Peter D Amos, Thomas G Newson, Murray D Gillon
In September 2000, pressures being monitored in a geological fracture beneath Arapuni Dam were found to be rising significantly, indicating that a deteriorating condition was developing in the foundation. Two boreholes drilled in 1995 had intersected high water pressures within the fracture in an area close to the downstream face of the dam, posing a risk of major leakage developing from where the fracture day-lighted downstream of the dam. Lumps of clay, bitumen and lake biota, including snails and small fish, were identified discharging from the boreholes, indicating that a significant leakage path had developed. Detailed investigations, the subject of this paper, were carried out from September 2000 to confirm the extent and nature of the deterioration. A range of groundwater investigation techniques and tools were used, while the reservoir remained full, to identify the source of the leak and confirm the path it took. The investigations culminated in development of a groundwater model that described the seepage behaviour in the dam foundation. Based on the investigation information gathered, the foundation fracture bearing the high water pressure was successfully grouted in December 2001 without lowering the reservoir.
Hydro Tasmania uses an electronic inclinometer to monitor the face deflections of nine of its CFRDs. The inclinometer is lowered down a steel pipe attached to the upstream face of each dam. The inclinometer was designed and constructed by the University of Tasmania and was first used on Cethana Dam when it was completed in 1972.
The success of its use on Cethana Dam lead to its use for the long term monitoring of eight subsequent CFRDs constructed by Hydro Tasmania.
After 25 years of successful operation some irregular readings of face deflection became apparent. This paper describes the investigation of the irregular readings that had been obtained, the assessment of other methods of observing concrete face deflection, and the refurbishment of the inclinometer using modern electronic components.