Ridges Basin Dam is part of the Animas-La Plata Project. When topped out in approximately 2008, it will be Reclamation’s newest dam. It will have a structural height of 273 feet and impound 120,000 acre-feet of water. This paper will discuss the design of the embankment and will detail the site geology, the general design considerations for layout and zoning, and other technical considerations. The construction, which began in 2004, is ongoing. This paper will also discuss foundation treatment and cleanup, the placement of the embankment material, grouting, and the unusual material processing for filters and drains, along with general construction details. Also included in the paper are the challenging arrangements for contracting by the American Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Law, an overview of the dam safety risk analyses conducted on the yet-to-be-constructed embankment, and modern construction techniques being utilized to build the embankment.
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We can all learn by our mistakes and the experience of others. This paper seeks to look at three incidents/accidents which recently occurred in the UK so that others can learn from them. The paper then seeks to answer the question as to whether we are improving in looking after our dams in the UK in respect of reservoir safety.
A. Uromeihy, P.G. Ranjith
In response to increasing potable water need and in order to control and collect precipitations, many dams have been constructed and many more are under construction in Iran. Due to the complex geology of the country, many of the dam sites face serious geological problems both during construction and in operation phases. The most predominant types of problems are water leakage and sediment deposition in the reservoirs. In order to define and classify the type of problem with regards to geological condition, the country is divided into eight zonesin whicheach zone demonstrates similar problem on the dam site location. It is found that the water leakage is related directly to either the presence of soluble carbonate rocks in the abutment or the presence of thick permeable material in the foundation. It is also shown that the sediment deposition in the reservoir is related to many factors but the geology of the watershed area has a major effect. Therefore it can be concluded that the geology has a great role in the construction of dams.
In Austria, special procedures for ensuring dam safety apply to dams higher than 15 m or reservoirs with a capacity of more than 500,000 m³. There are at present about 90 dams which belong to this category. The largest one is the 200 m high Kölnbrein arch dam.
In general, it is the task of the dam owner to provide for the safety of a dam. For that, he has to appoint qualified engineers, the “Dam Safety Engineers”, which are in charge of dam surveillance and maintenance. The Water Authority verifies that the owner makes the necessary provisions for dam safety. Water Authorities are the Provincial Governor and the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. The Water Authorities are supported by a governmental advisory board, the “Austrian Commission on Dams”.
Projects for new dams or for reconstruction of existing dams are examined by the Austrian Commission on Dams. Approval by the Water Authority is based on the findings of this commission. A group of a few experts of the commission accompanies the project during construction, first impounding and the final acceptance procedure. In normal operation, dam attendants carry out visual inspections and measurements. The most important instruments are measured automatically and the data are transmitted to a permanently manned control centre. The Dam Safety Engineer has to inspect the dam at least once a year. His annual report to the Water Authorities must contain an assessment of the safety of the dam. The Federal Dam Supervisory Department of the ministry checks the annual reports and carries out an in-depth inspection of the dam at least every five years.
In the case of extraordinary events, the Dam Safety Engineer has to assess the situation and he has to set appropriate measures. An Emergency Action Plan is available for all dams of the said category.
Internal erosion and piping within embankment dams may initiate in cracks caused by differential settlement or desiccation, in cracks caused by hydraulic fracture and in very poorly compacted layers of soil. It generally cannot occur unless one of these defects is present because backwards erosion, the other mechanism for internal erosion, will not occur in embankments under normal gradients and will not occur in cohesive soils unless gradients are exceptionally high.
As a result it is very unlikely that it will be possible to detect initiation of erosion with piezometers, and the most likely successful method is seepage observation and monitoring. However the time from the first detection of increased seepage to breach of the dam may be very short-a matter of hours in some situations.
Thoughtfully positioned and read piezometers are more likely to be successful in identifying the critical gradients which may lead to the onset of backwards erosion in cohesionless soils in the foundation of dams.
Piezometers are more useful in establishing the pore pressures for use in analysis of stability, but in most cases where stability is marginal undrained strength analysis is required and the pore pressures and effective strengths alone are not sufficient to assess stability. In a number of cases differential settlements, and acceleration of settlements have proven valuable in detecting the on-set of instability and the conditions in which internal erosion and piping to initiate. Once these conditions are recognised more detailed survey monitoring and borehole inclinometers can be valuable in better defining the geometry of instability.
This paper reviews the general principles of duty of care which assist in the understanding of responsibilities that may exist for surveillance of dam safety, including the inter-play of the common law and statutory law. Only when there is a foundation in the general principles can obligations upon dam owners/operators with respect to surveillance and instrumentation be interpreted. Some legal issues around the development and use of industry guidelines are also explored.