Stuart Macnish, Natarsha Woods, Michael Dixon
What happens when the people that undertake early environmental investigation stay on as part of the delivery team throughout the design and construction phases of a major project such as the Wivenhoe Alliance?
Often, the early investigation for projects, particularly in the case of environmental impact assessments and approvals processes, is carried out independently of the construction team. In the case of the Wivenhoe Alliance, these issues were set out in the scope of the project itself and delivered by the same team during construction.
The benefits and outcomes have been impressive not only for the project, but for SEQWater and the local community into the future. Improved biodiversity values, increased water quality protection, safety improvements, and value for money are only some of the key benefits experienced.
Individuals within the team also benefit. Environmental professionals are able to implement their
knowledge ‘on-ground’ and progressively improve practices in an area of constant change due to
construction initiatives and timeframes.
This paper explores the specific areas in which the involvement of environmental professionals throughout early investigation and planning, design and construction have benefited the Wivenhoe Alliance and the outcomes that have resulted from this innovative approach.
Keith Seddon, Craig Noske, Ian Duffield
This paper covers the investigation, design, construction and performance of a tailings dam at Mount
Thorley Warkworth (“MTW”), a Coal and Allied operated open-cut coal mine in the Hunter Valley, NSW.
A tailings disposal site was identified in one of the ramps through the mine-spoil piles. The “foundations” and abutments comprise uncompacted mine spoil to a depth of 40m below the haul road surface. The Stage 1 embankment at this site has a height of 70m.
The dam is a zoned rockfill embankment, constructed from mine spoil.
It was designed as a “leaky” dam. An innovative method of work packages was developed
for construction. The rockfill was delivered to the site by the mine. Spreading and compaction was carried out by a separate external contractor. Construction of the embankment was completed in a period of 5 months.
Filling of the storage commenced before the end of construction. Monitoring has included measurements of very large settlements, plus tailings level and piezometric surface. The monitoring results are presented and discussed.
Murray Gillon, Robin Fell, Harry Keys, M Foster
Volcanic eruptions at Mt Ruapehu in 1995-96 resulted in the deposition of about 7m of tephra over the rock rim overflow of Crater Lake. There is a long history of lahars (debris flows) associated with releases of water from Crater Lake. The 1995-96 eruptions emptied the lake and it has slowly been refilling from rainfall runoff and snow melt. When the lake level rises above the rock rim the tephra layer will act as a “barrier” or dam. Breaching of the barrier will release water and generate a lahar. The magnitude of the lahar flow will be a function of the lake level at the time of breaching
Extensive studies of the effects of the lahar that would be generated by the failure of the tephra barrier have been undertaken. The studies included a failure modes and likelihood analysis to provide information on the relative likelihood of failure as the lake level rises for the different failure modes applicable to this situation. The paper describes the failure modes considered and the results of the analysis.
Don Macfarlane; Nick Eldred; Sigi Keis
Project Aqua was planned to be a major hydropower development along the lower Waitaki Valley, New Zealand. Geotechnical investigations for the project were conducted in two main stages – from the late 1970’s to mid-1980’s, and again in the period from 2002 to 2004.
Community consultation was an important part of the 2002-2004 investigations, and was a key risk management issue for Meridian Energy. The proposed scope of the work included 512 drillholes and 734 test pits spread along the 60km project corridor. All proposed drillholes and test pits were subject to the Resource Management Act 1991 and needed Resource Consent applications, which required consultation with landowners, territorial authorities, and community and cultural groups including three Maori tribes.
A number of proposed investigations could not be undertaken because the landowner would not allow land access, but over 70% of the proposed work was completed with community support.
Peter D Amos, Pip Nicolson, M Grant Webby, Murray D Gillon
To obtain a resource consent to build and operate any new water resource or hydro-electric development in New Zealand, the developer is required by the Resource Management Act (RMA) to consult with the community over the effects that the development could have, including describing how public safety risks will be avoided, remedied or mitigated. The community has the opportunity to respond to the authorities issuing the resource consent and influence the conditions attached to the consent.
The proposed Project Aqua Scheme in the South Island, New Zealand, comprised a 60 km long canal system to convey 340 cumecs flow from the Waitaki River across alluvial river terraces and through a chain of six hydro-power stations before returning the water back to the river. Each section of canal between stations would have contained between 4 and 6 million m3 of water within embankments up to 20m high. A breach of any one of these canals had the potential to flood farmland, residential buildings, highways, and other infrastructure, thereby posing a safety risk to local residents together with the potential for significant economic loss.
The paper describes the methodologies that were developed and used to assess the impacts, the measures proposed to avoid, remedy or mitigate safety risks and the public reaction to the associated report that was provided for public consultation prior to abandonment of the project. The methodologies used required adaptation of dam safety and consequence assessment practices usually applied to in-river dams, and applied here to the 60 km long length of canal embankment.
Blowering Dam was constructed in 1968 by the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority, on behalf of the Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission. It is a large earth and rockfill embankment dam, approximately 112m high and 808m long, with a concrete chute spillway at the right abutment. The reservoir holds about 1,628GL of water that is mainly for irrigation and supplying an 80MW hydro-electric power station. The dam is owned and operated by State Water Corporation, NSW.
Revisions to the design flood estimate have highlighted the dam requiring an upgrade to cope with increased discharge rates. The NSW Department of Commerce has carried out feasibility studies of different upgrade options. The need to evaluate the hydraulic performance of the existing un-gated spillway was identified. Flow overtopping the chute walls can potentially erode the backfill behind the walls, and, the rockfill on the downstream toe of the embankment. Consequently, this may lead to significant damage of the spillway and may risk the safety of the dam.
Hydraulic analysis of the spillway using a 3-D computational fluid dynamics model was performed for various flood levels to determine the discharge coefficients and the discharge rating curve. It was also required to identify whether the chute walls need raising to contain the increased discharges. These results were compared with those calculated by other “standard” methods. Such verification provided a level of onfidence in the analysis results which were then used in the studies to assess available upgrade options.
In order to have further confidence in the analysis, the computed results were validated against physical test data and some limited information from an actual discharge. Further verification against established theory was conducted by modelling a supercritical flow through a contraction in an open-channel in order to see if the computation could predict the shock wave effect that was observed in physical models as well as full scale channels. A reasonably good correlation was obtained from all validating tests.
This paper presents some background of the proposed dam upgrade, potential upgrade options considered and details of the hydraulic modelling of the spillway. Some interesting flow behaviour caused by the shock wave will be highlighted.