R. Dawson, J. Grimston, R. Cole, D. Bouma
The authors have been involved in the design and construction of several embankment dams in New Zealand over the past decade, and have considerable corporate knowledge from dams designed by the company in its 47-year history. This paper examines four dams which are relatively small to medium, ranging in height from 10 to 19 m with moderate storage volumes. Three of the dams service landfills and the fourth a wood processing mill. Such dams may provide the designer with considerable challenges due to their relatively low capital cost resulting in limited investment in geotechnical investigation at the front end of the project, with varying levels of change often required during construction due to unforeseen conditions as a result of the limited investigations.
The general arrangement and conceptual design principles for each of the dams is described followed by the field investigation and laboratory testing undertaken for each dam, together with the interpreted ground conditions.
The experiences from construction have helped to develop techniques for a balance between preliminary design, investigation, and evolution of the design and specification during construction. It is imperative to develop a sufficiently detailed preliminary design, on the basis of readily available information such as visual and geological assessment, to allow the investigation to be thoughtfully designed to allow the major assumptions to be verified. This needs to be followed by a skilfully executed geotechnical investigation with the designer advising on findings and changing direction as necessary through the investigation. An investigation trench along the full alignment of the cutoff trench (if envisaged in the design) is warranted. Earthworks specifications should be evolved early in the construction phase through compaction trials using specific plant for the site, and backed up by insitu and laboratory testing.
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The Koralpe hydropower scheme is a major development on the Feistritzbach tributary of the River Drau to utilize water in a 50 MW powerhouse located in the south-eastern Carinthia, Europe. The Soboth reservoir is situated 735 m higher in a narrow valley and is created by the 85 m high Feistritzbach dam which was constructed near the border of Austria and Slovenia between 1988 and 1990. This rockfill dam is the latest addition to KELAG’s more than 15 structures and is sealed by an asphaltic core. The excellent deformability and impermeability of the asphaltic core is able to follow the deformation of the compacted rock-fill material best during construction, initial filling and operation period without any seepage. The asphaltic core was placed in three 20 cm layers per day by a specially developed placing unit from a contractor. The upstream and downstream filter zone was placed at the same time with the same machine and compacted carefully by vibrating rollers. The dam is curved in plan with a radius of 650 m and contains about 1.6 million m³ rock fill material. The surface of the downstream side was built exceeding the environmental standards of the time.The most important indicator of the normal function of a dam is the behaviour of seepage. A monitoring system of seepage, piezometers, earth pressure cells and deformation has been installed. The seepage water is monitored online at seven points of the dam base and at the access tunnel to the bottom outlet valve. Geodetic measurements on and inside the dam are done once a year. Several additional pieces of surveillance equipment were installed to observe the behaviour of the asphaltic core. The paper concentrates on the design, construction and performance of the dam with the asphaltic core.
G. Hunter, R. Fell, S. McGrath
The main embankment at Tullaroop Reservoir is a 42m high zoned earth and rockfill dam that was constructed in the late 1950s. The constructed embankment has a very broad, well compacted clay earthfill zone with dumped rockfill on the mid to lower upstream and downstream shoulders.
Over a two week period in April 2004 a diagonal crack of 60mm width and greater than 2m depth developed on the downstream shoulder of the main embankment. The crack was located on the left abutment and extended from the crest to the toe of the embankment. The diagonal crack terminated at the downstream edge of the crest. A continuous longitudinal crack extended along the downstream edge of the crest from the diagonal crack almost to the left abutment. Since April 2004 no further widening of the diagonal crack has been observed.
This paper presents the findings of a series of site investigations and analysis to understand the mechanism for formation of the diagonal crack, and the risk assessment process that culminated in the eventual construction of a full height filter buttress on the left abutment of the main embankment. Factors that influenced the cracking included the change in slope in the foundation profile, the temporary diversion channel on the left abutment, residual stresses in the dam abutment due to differential settlement during construction, a complex foundation geology and presence of shear surfaces in a Tertiary alluvial sequence that formed due to valley formation, an historic dry period and a prolonged period of drawdown. The presence of the crack and its assessed mechanism of formation presented a dam safety risk of piping through the embankment. The risk evaluation process was worked through with URS, Goulburn-Murray Water (G-MW), and G-MW’s expert panel, and eventuated in construction of the localised filter buttress in February – March 2006 to address the dam safety deficiency.
Marius Jonker, Malcolm Barker and Gary Harper
This paper provides a framework for conducting an effective Failure Modes Analysis. It explains the fundamental principals and methods of Failure Modes Analysis. The current international state of practice on Failure Modes Analysis is discussed, and the objectives, benefits and limitations of Failure Modes Analysis assessed. Guidelines are given on how to apply the outcome of Failure Modes Analysis in dam safety management and surveillance.The effective application of Failure Modes Analysis is illustrated in a case study where the process was applied in the safety review and risk assessment of Rocklands Dam for Grampians Wimmera Mallee RegionWater Authority in Victoria.
Legal and moral requirements necessitate an “equivalent to industry standard” approach to dam management by all dam owners. As an urban authority Central Highlands Water has a portfolio of dams with a broad range of classification and risk. ANCOLD Guidelines form the basis of our approach to dam management. Thus any guidelines developed can have significant affect on our budget and operation. Guidelines with requirements targeted at extreme and high hazard dams managed by large authorities with “deep pockets” may not be reasonable to impose upon low risk structures managed by lesser authorities. This does not mean smaller authorities want to do it on the “cheap” but budgets for such infrastructure can be hard to sustain. Consequently when guidelines are considered so too should the flow on affect to those who must implement them.
P Amos, N Logan, and J Walker
There are a number of geological faults in close proximity to Aviemore Power Station in the South Island of New Zealand, including a fault in the foundation of the 48m high earth dam component of the power station. Possible movement of the Waitangi Fault in the earth dam foundation is of particular concern for dam safety, and the effects on the dam of a fault rupture has been the subject of detailed investigation by the dam’s owner Meridian Energy Ltd. These investigations have concluded that the dam will withstand the anticipated fault displacement related to the Safety Evaluation Earthquake without catastrophic release of the reservoir.
The identification of damage to the dam following an earthquake and monitoring of the dam to identify the development of potential failure mechanisms are important for determining the post-earthquake safety of the power station. The first stage of the post-earthquake response plan is the quick identification of any foundation fault rupture and damage to the dam to enable immediate post-earthquake mitigation measures to be initiated, such as reservoir drawdown. Following initial response, the next stage of the post-earthquake monitoring programme for the embankment dam is longer term monitoring to identify a changing seepage condition due to damage to the dam that might lead to a piping incident. Such an incident may not occur immediately after an earthquake, and it can be some time before the piping process becomes evident.
This paper presents some key instrumentation installed at Aviemore Dam and included in the emergency response plan for the post-earthquake monitoring of the embankment dam.