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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SunWater manages its portfolio of 29 major dams through 6 business centres each responsible for the Dam Safety Program for the dams under its management control.
The effectiveness of responses during an emergency depends on the amount of planning and training performed. Management must show its support for dam safety programs and the importance of emergency planning.
If management is not interested in community protection and in minimising property loss, little can be done to promote dam safety. It is therefore management’s responsibility to see that a program is instituted and that it is frequently reviewed and updated.
The input and support of all communities must be obtained to ensure an effective program. The emergency response plan should be developed locally and should be comprehensive enough to deal with all types of emergencies specific to that site.
SunWater is a responsible dam owner and has recently upgraded all its emergency action plans in consultation with emergency services of Queensland. This paper details the basic steps to handle emergencies of water infrastructure. These emergencies include inflow floods, rapid drawdown, earthquake, sunny day failure, changes in reservoir water quality and terrorist attacks including hoax.
This paper is intended to assist small dam owners that do not have dam safety programs in place. It is not intended as an all inclusive safety program but rather a provision of guidelines for planning for emergencies.
C Lake and J Walker
Meridian Energy is the owner and operator of a chain of hydro dams on the Waitaki River in the South Island of NZ. It operates a Dam Safety Assurance Programme which reflects current best practice; consequently it has focused primarily on managing civil dam assets. Advances in plant control technology have allowed de-manning of our power stations, dams and canals through centralised control. The safety of our hydraulic structures is increasingly reliant on the performance of Dam Safety Critical Plant (DSCP) – those items of plant (eg water level monitoring, gates, their power and control systems, and sump pumps) which are required to operate automatically, or under operator control, to assure safety of the hydraulic structures in all reasonably foreseeable circumstances.
Recent dam safety reviews have highlighted that the specification and testing of our DSCP is based on the application of ‘rules of thumb’ which have been established through engineering practice (eg. “monthly tests”, “third level of protection”, “backup power sources”, “triple voted floats”). The adequacy of these engineering practices is difficult to defend as they are not based on published criteria. The realisation that such rules may not be relevant to the increased demand on, and complexity of, DSCP led us to ask “Which belts and braces do we really need?”
The current NZSOLD (2000) and ANCOLD (2003) Dam Safety guidelines give little guidance regarding specific criteria for the design and operation of DSCP. Meridian has identified the use of Functional Safety standards (from the Process industry, defined in IEC 61511) as a tool which can be applied to the dams industry to review the risks to the hydraulic structures, the demands on the DSCP, and utilise corporate “tolerable risk” definitions to establish the reliability requirements (Safety Integrity Levels) of each protection, and determine lifecycle criteria for the design, operation, testing, maintenance, and review of those protections.
This paper outlines the background to identifying Functional Safety as a suitable tool for this purpose, and the practical application of Functional Safety Analysis to Meridian’s DSCP.
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.
Ensuring compliance with the Regulator’s requirements is a cornerstone consideration for any water corporation in planning its risk minimisation strategies against dam failure. With the increased focus on due diligence and corporate governance however, there are emerging themes that are of equal importance for a water corporation in planning protections against its core risks to dam safety.
These considerations include:
• documenting and implementing plans and strategies to ensure corporate compliance with the
Regulator’s requirements and updating these in line with legislative and policy changes;
• Documenting and implementing the corporation’s defences to the common law duty of care for
public liability, including keeping up to date with the latest case law development locally and
internationally in interpreting implications in respect of damage to property and injury and loss of
life in relation to dam failure.
• Adopting behaviours and practices that bear out a compliance culture – is the current dam safety
assessment and training “best practice” and is this enough to defend a claim? What is reasonable
in economic and practical terms to ensure defensibility?
• ensuring the Board, Executive and other Officers are informed of operational decisions and
incidents and their advice is implemented;
• arranging and maintaining appropriate insurances if available for public liability and property
damage, as well as protections for directors and officers, both past and current.
• Developing and implementing a policy for disclosure, document management and retention that will support investigation for legal proceedings purposes; including providing privilege for relevant
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.