2005 – Use of No Erosion Filter Design for Control of Seepage in Desiccation Cracks for the Ross River Dam Upgrade

Jon Williams and Chi Fai Wan

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 inthe 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

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