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.
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P Maisano, M Taylor , M Barker and A Parsons
South Para Dam, completed in 1958, is located on the South Para River, 38 km north of Adelaide. The embankment is 45 m high and comprises compacted crushed phyllite with rockfill toes. The 13 m high rock fill toes are protected with three-stage filters but the remaining 32 m of embankment height has no downstream filter protection.
The South Australian Water Corporation (SA Water), the owner and operator of the dam, is considering modifications to the dam, to augment its flood mitigation role. The proposed works, while not affecting the full supply level, involve a modification to the spillway crest and raising of the embankment crest to accommodate increased flood levels. SA Water therefore commissioned a dam safety review to assess the need for any piping or overtopping protection that may be required. This was followed by concept designs to ensure that flood mitigation work is compatible with any required dam safety upgrade work.
The results of a detailed dam failure risk analysis using event trees showed that the Societal Risk for the existing dam needed to be reduced, and that the proposed spillway modifications increased the Societal Risk due to the increased risk of piping failure with higher flood levels.
The risk analysis showed that eliminating the overtopping modes of failure by raising the dam crest is not sufficient in itself to achieve the required reduction in risk. The provision of filter protection to reduce the risk of piping failure is required, but it was shown that it is not necessary to provide full height filters as the provision of filters only above full supply level would be sufficient to achieve the required reduction in risk.
The recommended upgrade works, in addition to the proposed spillway modification for flood mitigation purposes, consist of filter protection and a weighting fill above the top berm (4.4 m below FSL) to facilitate connection to a possible full height filter in the future, and a parapet wall to provide overtopping protection.The resulting cost saving compared with the installation of full height filters is in excess of $2 Million.
The Tarong coal-fired power station near Kingaroy in southern Queensland discharges ash to a storage facility of 42,000 ML capacity, impounded by a 48 m high-zoned earth and rockfill dam embankment. The embankment was constructed in 1980–81. In recent years, Tarong Energy Corporation (TEC) has investigated a number of options for a new storage facility as the remaining capacity of the existing ash dam storage diminishes. TEC determined that the existing facility should be upgraded to provide additional storage capacity for the short term. At the same time, there emerged a requirement to improve the long-term seismic resistance of the embankment. Enlarging the existing spillway cut provided the material for a 400,000 m3 weighting zone and, by reducing the design flood freeboard, extended the ash disposal capacity by several years without a need to raise the embankment. Challenges included significant foundation seepage and deteriorated riprap. The paper describes the issues, risks, adopted criteria, investigation undertaken, and implementation of the upgrading works. Innovative approaches to the provision of future storage capacity are outlined.
The Ross River Dam was first commissioned in 1974 and raised in 1976. The 8200 m long
embankment was not fitted with chimney filters and has suffered extensive desiccation cracking since it was raised. A significant component of the dam upgrade is the retrofitting of filter zones to ensure the embankment meets current dam safety guidelines.
This paper describes the process of investigation of the existing desiccation cracks and the use of Hole Erosion Tests (HET) and No Erosion Filter (NEF) tests to validate the design of the retrofitted filter. A significant challenge in the design is to provide a cost effective solution given the 7500 m length of embankment requiring treatment. Assessment of flow rates within cracks and expected piping erosion along the cracks was used to assess the required drainage capacity. This assessment of expected flow capacity allowed the deletion of the coarse filter in the design reducing the filter requirement from a triple filter to a single fine filter. Results of this assessment were incorporated into the Risk Assessment based design validation process.
David Ho, Karen Riddette, Michael Hogg, Jayanta Sinha and John Roberts
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 confidence 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.
This paper sets out the principles, practices and issues relevant to the sharing of
costs for dam safety upgrades in southwest Western Australia and other locations.
? the general principles (noting that in practice multiple conditioning factors
? the practical outcomes for cost sharing in Australian jurisdictions;
? the beneficiaries of the dams, the water and the safety upgrades;
? legacy costs (including IPART’s framework and whether this can be directly
applied to the southwest);
? the Bulk Water Service Agreement;
? the question of price impacts and affordability based on surveys of farm
performance, water use and profitability; and
? the pricing impact of treating safety upgrades as if Harvey Water owned the
We examine the impact of applying economic allocation principles to this task and the
impact of other criteria such as dam safety obligations, hazards presented by a large dam,
community expectations for public safety, the broader public safety, welfare and state and
regional economic benefits reliant on dam safety, significant community costs subsidised by
irrigation customers, State Government ownership, and the effects on bulk water prices
should customers be required to fully fund the necessary dam safety upgrading.