Manuel G. de Membrillera, Ignacio Escuder, David Bowles, Eduardo Triana, Luis Altarejos
The work herein presented is an application of the risk assessment process to retroactively estimate the justification of an operating restriction implemented on a Spanish Dam. Since the risk approach is not yet an established practice in Spain, the main objective of this case study is to show, the utility that risk assessment can have as a decision support tool for decisions on dam safety risk reduction investments.
An operating restriction has been imposed at this dam since its first impoundment. All studies, analysis and documents related to the safety of the dam and reservoir have been completed, as required by the Technical Regulation on Dam and Reservoir Safety (Spanish legislation, 1996). In addition, the structural corrective actions recommended in these evaluations are being implemented, so it is expected that the operating restriction can be removed in the near future.
In this context, the problem that has been formulated and solved comprises an evaluation, after more than 30 years since construction, of the operating restriction justification in terms of risk mitigation. In order to achieve the objective of the work, ANCOLD guidelines on Risk Assessment (2003) have been followed in addition to tolerable risk guidelines from several other countries and organizations.
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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.
Karen Soo Kee
Strategic resource management has never been more important than it is today with the aging of the “baby boomers” and their ongoing exodus from the workforce. The vacancies they leave in professions such as engineering are just beginning to be felt and will exponentially escalate over the next few years. Specialised professions such as dam engineering and related professions will be hit the hardest as the knowledge and skills learnt over decades are depleted.
The lack of skilled staff and in fact the lack of interest of young engineers in entering the dam industry is one of the critical challenges for today. How do we attract professional staff into the field of dam safety before the exodus creates a “black hole” that can never be filled? And how can we ensure the knowledge transfer from existing skilled staff to newer staff to retain expertise within the industry?
Another issue for resource management is that tomorrow’s workers, the “X &Y generations”, will be unlike the current and previous generations of workers. These workers will be less likely to have a mortgage, will have fewer children and be more interested in lifestyle, not career. They will be extremely confident, well-educated and very mobile. The future will be a sellers market. The challenge here will not only be to attract and recruit talented workers but also to retain them.
A brief overview of dam surveillance is given from a South African perspective and more specifically the perspective of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF). DWAF’s Ten Commandments for the design of dam monitoring systems serve as introduction and this is followed by a summary of the design steps. The various parameters that can be measured and the South African preferences are discussed briefly followed by a synoptic description of crack and joint monitoring in South Africa. This provides the background for DWAF’s recent developments in 3-D Crack-Tilt gauges. Some of DWAF’s achievements as well as some of the blunders made by the author during the past 30 years are illustrated by means of a few case histories.
Peter Allen, Malcolm Barker, Shane McGrath and Chris Topham
Are we there Yet? The question we all ask in Tolerability of Risk. The answer is in the journey, which we are all on as owners, regulators or designers.
A number of authorities in Australia are applying risk assessment for the evaluation of dam safety upgrades in accordance with the October 2003 ANCOLD Guidelines on Risk Assessment. A fundamental requirement for the evaluation of risk below the limit of tolerability is the use of the As Low As Reasonably Practicable(ALARP) principle. In making a judgement as to whether an ALARP position may have been reached, ANCOLD suggest the evaluation of a Cost to Save a Statistical Life, good practice, level of existing risk, social concerns, affordability and duration of risk. ANCOLD also suggests consideration of the USBR Criteria for evaluating risk. Recent guidelines on the Acceptable Flood Capacity for Dams developed by the Queensland Dam Safety Regulator provide further insight into the application of ALARP.
The objective of the paper is to make dam owners, regulators and designers aware of some current practice regarding the evaluation of ALARP in Australia, highlight the challenges of applying this principle and to encourage further discussion.
N. Vitharana, G. McNally, C. Johnson, A. Thomas, K. Dart and P. Russell
Millbrook Reservoir is an offline storage with an earthen embankment dam containing a puddle clay core and a moderately sized upstream catchment. The dam is 31m high and has a capacity of 16.5 GL when the storage water level is at the Full SupplyLevel (FSL). The reservoir is 25km NE of Adelaide on Chain of Ponds Creek, a tributary of the River Torrens. The dam was constructed during the years 1914-1918. Earthworks were carried out only during summer as the five winters during the construction period were very wet.
Dam safety reviews and geotechnical investigations, undertaken between 2001 and 2004 by SKM, showed that these winter recesses would have created weak layers, increasing the potential for piping due to the lack of a filter. This was highlighted by the large deformations which occurred at the end of construction in 1918. The spillway was assessed as able to pass a flood event with AEP of 1:1,300,000. Given the location of the dam, ANCOLD(2000b) Guidelines suggest the dam should be able to safely pass the PMF flood event. Accordingly, the dam required upgrading to modern guidelines.
The 2005 detailed design of the upgrade included the construction of a 70m wide unlined spillway, construction of filters on the downstream face of the dam with a stabilisation (weighting) fill, installation of instrumentation and seismic protection of the outlet tower. The construction of these works is currently underway.