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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Hydro Tasmania has recently upgraded the control systems for the spillway gates of three of its dams, Clark Dam, Meadowbank Dam and Liapootah Dam. The upgrades followed internal reliability assessments that highlighted high reliance on operator attendance, single points of failure and operational difficulties on each of the three gate systems.
The three gates are of contrasting types. Clark Dam Spillway Gates are submerged orifice type radial gates, operated by wire rope hoists. Meadowbank Crest Gates are flap type gates, held by 10 hydraulic cylinders per gate, a design that has had a difficult operating history. Liapootah is a floating drum gate. The upgrades for each gate therefore required different solutions, albeit within a common basis of design framework. The solutions arrived at are innovative, and meet or exceed worlds best practice.
All three gates are now fully automatic, with PLC control. The use of PLC’s significantly enhances the reliability of the gates. Extensive use is also made of the PLC in monitoring key systems. For example, an impossibly rapid lake level rise detected by one transducer, but not its duplicate, will be alarmed but ignored to avoid unnecessary discharge. All systems incorporate appropriate redundancy. The PLC systems also provide some automatic functional testing functionality and enhance remote alarms and local fault finding.
Mechanical systems were modified to facilitate automation and increase reliability. Stand by power sources used include auto-start diesel genset, DC batteries and a micro hydro generator.
The design and implementation of each of the upgrades was carried out by the Electrical and Mechanical Group of Hydro Tasmania’s Consulting Division, in conjunction with Generation Division’s Project Management Group.
South East Queensland Water Corporation (SEQWater) as owner and operator is proceeding with an upgrade of the flood capacity of Wivenhoe Dam. SEQWater has formed an Alliance with Leighton Contractors, Coffey Geosciences, Montgomery Watson Harza (MWH) and the Department of Commerce-NSW (formerly DPWS, NSW) to upgrade Wivenhoe Dam. This paper presents feasibility level investigation and design activities for an upgrade option, comprising a large labyrinth auxiliary spillway at the right abutment of the dam, for supplementing the existing gated spillway in handling the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) event. This right abutment auxiliary spillway option incorporates Hydroplus type concrete fuse gates. The investigation so far has proved the technical viability of this option, however, ranking along with the other three options against various criteria will lead to the selection of the preferred upgrade option.
An energy and water company spends $8 million on maintenance each year. This work is defined and scheduled through a maintenance management system, part of an enterprise solution that cost the company over $2 million for licence fees, management consulting and installation.
The company has an ageing asset base and has been spending $18 million annually on capital improvements. The work activities are selected to meet safety requirements, enhance reliability, improve plant and upgrade customer service, and are defined, prioritised and scheduled on Word and Excel, which are standard applications on the desks of the company’s engineers and accountants.
This company is a composite (typical) of many in the energy and water business.
The most significant business decisions that owners usually have to make are capital spending commitments to modernise energy and water assets. To be successful, strategies have to be devised to meet the overall strategic objectives of the business, and processes adopted based on a fully functional and integrated asset planning system.
‘Aptus’ is a web-based planning application built specifically for asset intensive businesses. It enables a consistent analytical framework using engineering knowledge and the dam owner’s financial criteria, to provide new perspectives and support strategic planning and decision making with triple bottom line reporting. Aptus is a proven resource to maximize the value of the asset portfolio and sustain the business into the future.
John Grimston, Robin Dawson, Maurice Fraser
Water supply for irrigation of horticulture and agriculture in New Zealand has gained considerable momentum since the mid 1990’s. The rapid growth of the wine industry in areas such as Marlborough (located at the top of the South Island) and dairy conversions in many areas of South Canterbury are prime examples of the pressure being applied to existing water supplies and sources and the increasing need for new irrigation supplies and security of supply.
The larger irrigation projects of the past were implemented by the government – schemes such as the Rangitata Diversion race and the Lower Waitaki irrigation project both on the east coast of the South Island. The 1990’s and early 2000’s has seen a largely hands off government approach to potential irrigation projects with the shift towards leaving it to market forces to build irrigation schemes. The result has been that due to significant larger project risks and capital cost requirements with often multi party stakeholder groups, only relatively small schemes have been implemented – the Waimakariri irrigation scheme and Opuha irrigation dam are a few examples. However, in recent years with the value of water increasing several significant irrigation projects promoted by private enterprise or progressive district councils with farmer groups are being investigated and a few may be close to implementation.
The recent drought conditions have focussed attention on the need for storages to maintain security of supply and, together with the balance with sustainability, the consenting environment in New Zealand and existing river/aquifer allocations, significant challenges to development are presented.
Specific case examples include the proposed Delta dam near Blenheim being developed by a private group of irrigators and the Bankhouse development being implemented by a private owner in the same Marlborough region.
This paper provides a background to irrigation in the South Island and describes these two proposed schemes and associated storage dams, together with an insight into the key issues related to the proposed projects.
There is a widespread perception among dam engineers that tree root invasion occasions a very serious threat to embankment dams by virtue of its potential to initiate piping failure, with appropriate action invariably recommended. Remedial works can, on occasions, be extensive.
While the principle is ostensibly plausible and scarcely challenged, there has never been, to the Author’s knowledge, a satisfactory investigation to establish any credible scientific basis for it. One case that has attracted some attention in literature (by virtue of the extent of the investigation undertaken), viz a piping accident at Yan Yean Dam, is critically reviewed to show that the accepted view on the role of tree roots in this incident is less than satisfactory. In the course of this review, two physical Laws of Piping are proposed, and applied both to this case and to another nearby Melbourne Water dam that also has a history of piping.
Whilst the consequences of piping in a major dam are such that risk from this source must be kept to a very low level, it is concluded here that piping risk arising from tree root invasion has been considerably overstated and that a more balanced assessment is necessary before determining what, if any, action is required.