G. L. Sills, N. D. Vroman, J. B. Dunbar, R. E. Wahl
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall just east of New Orleans and inflicted widespread damage on the Hurricane Protection System (HPS) for southeast Louisiana. Subsequent flooding was a major catastrophe for the region and the Nation.
The response to this disaster by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers included forming an Interagency
Performance Evaluation Taskforce (IPET) to study the response of the system and, among many lines of inquiry, to identify causes of failure of levees and floodwalls.
Beginning in September 2005, the IPET gathered geotechnical forensic data from failed portions of levees and floodwalls. Major clues discovered at the 17th Street break, including clay wedges dividing a formerly continuous layer of peat, led to an explanation of the failures. Field data from the failure sites were interpreted within the regional geologic setting of the New Orleans area to identify geologic and geotechnical factors that contributed to the catastrophe. The data gathered provided a method that resulted in the “IPET Strength Model.” This strength was used in analyses of the I-walls and levees using limit equilibrium stability analyses, physical modeling using a powerful centrifuge, and finite-element analyses.
The results of all three types of studies revealed a consistent mode of failure that included deformation of the I-walls and foundation instability. The IPET also studied non-failed I-walls at Orleans and Michoud Canals, to identify geotechnical, structural, and geologic distinctions between failed and non-failed reaches.
Performance of the HPS during Hurricane Katrina offered many lessons to be learned. These lessons learned include: the lack of resiliency in the HPS; the need for risk-based planning and design approach; the need for the examination of system-wide functionality; and knowledge, technology, and expertise deficiencies in the HPS arena. In addition, understanding of the failure mechanisms and related causes of the levee and floodwall breaches provides a new direction for future designs of hurricane protection systems.
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Peter J Burgess, Delfa Sarabia, John Small, H. G. Poulos and Jayanta Sinha
The assessment of settlement behaviour of clay core rock fill dams has always been a challenge for dam designers and geotechnical engineers. The method of construction and the material properties of the clay and rock fill materials used in the dam construction have a significant influence on the inter-zonal interaction and the load transfer that occurs within the dam. At times this load transfer can lead to excessive differential and total settlements. The paper presents a case study of a major dam that experienced large settlements during and after construction. An elaborate analysis has been carried out by modelling the sequences of construction by using a finite element program (PLAXIS).
The paper describes the influence of the degree of compaction and moisture control on non-linear deformation characteristics of clay core. High vertical strains in the wet placed region of the core and low strains in the dry placed regions were analysed for possible shear development between the core and shell. The rock fill for the dam embankment consists of quartzite, metasiltstone and phyllite material. These materials have apparently undergone deformation with increasing height of the dam due to softening and crushing as saturation of the embankment took place. The effect of soil consolidation and strength gains have been considered in the analysis and are discussed. The settlement behaviour of the dam including these effects has been analysed, and compared with the historical post-construction settlements.
This paper is intended to provide valuable information for dam engineers handling clay core rock fill dams – especially where there is excessive settlement of the core.
D.N.D. Hartford and P. A. Zielinski
With the notable exceptions of dyke safety in the Netherlands and dam safety in Australia, explicit consideration of the equity versus efficiency dilemma associated with dam safety decision-making has been virtually ignored in the past debates related to safety of dams thus leading to inconsistent judgments in the development of dam safety policies. The equity-efficiency dilemma is now being debated in Canada as part of the process of revising the Canadian Dam Safety Guidelines. This paper explains how the argument in favour of formulating the new Canadian Dam Safety Guidelines within the formal risk assessment and risk management framework is being presented. The paper then focuses on the difficulties involved in aligning the well tried and tested and generally successful traditional approach to dam safety with the relatively untried and untested risk assessment approach. While the paper does not provide a significantly different perspective (a made in Canada approach) to the role of risk assessment in dam safety management as established in Australia and as presented in ICOLD Bulletin 130 (ICOLD, 2005), it does challenge some aspects of the ways dams are classified in the emerging risk assessment frameworks for dam safety management.
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.
Leonard A McDonald
Dam safety regulators look for evidence in support of the safety status of dams and to justify the need for safety improvements. Instrumentation and monitoring have a key role in providing the needed evidence.
In New South Wales, the Dams Safety Committee [the DSC] is the regulator of dam safety. The purposes of instrumentation and monitoring from the viewpoint of the DSC are set out, along with the current regulatory requirements in New South Wales. The relationship of instrumentation and monitoring to the tolerability of risk is discussed. There are remarks on some special considerations for a regulator and on the contemporary trend to remote sensing for the capture of information. Two case studies are described to show how instrumentation and monitoring has improved the understanding of dam behaviour. Some pitfalls to avoid are listed from DSC experience. Finally, there is an outline of matters that a regulator would see deserve attention if ANCOLD does undertake preparation of a guideline document on instrumentation and monitoring.
Joseph Matthews, Dr Mark Foster, Michael Phillips
Pykes Creek Dam is a 39m high earthfill dam with a central clay puddle core, first completed in 1911 and raised in 1930. A detailed risk assessment of the dam indicated that the risk did not satisfy ANCOLD societal risk criteria and that remedial works were necessary to address piping deficiencies and inadequate flood capacity. The risk assessment identified that piping at the embankment/spillway interface accounted for over 80% of the total risk. Therefore, interim risk reduction works were implemented in 2005 to address this risk issue while investigations and design studies were progressed for the second stage of works. Following the Stage 1 works, Pykes Creek Dam remains the highest risk in Southern Rural Water’s portfolio of dams and Stage 2 works are planned to commence in 2007 to reduce piping risks and increase flood capacity. The aim of the Stage 2 works is to reduce the risk below the Limit of Tolerability for Existing Dams (ANCOLD 2003) and to increase the flood capacity to a level more appropriate for an Extreme consequence category dam based on ALARP principles. The upgrade will stop short of meeting the PMF as there are other dams in Southern Rural Water’s portfolio requiring attention before an upgrade to this standard would be considered. The design of the works was complicated by the fact that the dam is bisected by a major freeway and has a complex spillway layout. This paper discusses the decision-making process and the methods used to analyse the dam from the initial risk assessment studies through to the design of the remedial works.