Gavan Hunter and Robin Fell
Earthfill embankments in Australia have been widely used in dam construction since the start of the 20th century replacing the older puddle type and concrete corewall embankment designs. Most Australian dam portfolios will have one or more of these embankment types. A key component to the dam safety assessment of these dams is understanding their deformation behaviour, in particular the assessment of the future performance of these structures as they now reach ages of 40 to 80 years or more.
This paper presents the findings of a study on the deformation behaviour of earthfill embankments. It draws on a database of 54 case studies from mainly Australia, the United States and Europe. It is a component of a broader study on the deformation behaviour of embankment dams undertaken as a research project at University of New South Wales earlier this decade.
The data presented in this paper allows dam owners and their consultants to compare the deformation behaviour of their dam to the performance of other similar earthfill dams in evaluating dam safety. Typical patterns of deformation behaviour are presented and guidance is provided on identifying trends in deformation behaviour that are assessed as “abnormal” and that may be potentially indicative of marginal stability.
Glen Hobbs, Robert Rigg, Alan Hobbs, Adam Butler
Maintenance errors and associated non-conformances are becoming increasingly recognised as a source of system failures in a wide range of industries. Research in other industries has shown that errors often arise in response to local factors beyond the control of the maintainer. Various dam ‘incidents’ have been attributed to maintenance errors. In Australia we have been fortunate with few serious dam safety events. However, the dam operating and maintenance environment is changing dramatically.
A survey of dam maintenance personnel was recently undertaken in Australia. The survey was in the form of 49 questions that asked participants to state how frequently a situation occurred. This survey format has previously been used in other industries; thus allowing a comparison of dam maintenance with other high-risk industries such as rail infrastructure, oil and gas, and airline maintenance.
A number of ‘error-producing’ conditions have been identified and survey results indicate a high level of poor procedures/documentation and supervision; highlighting the need for accurate and appropriate manuals and supervision of tasks. These and other factors are leading to instances of maintenance non-compliance, which may threaten the reliability and safety of equipment. The survey has revealed that trade training needs to be addressed. However, occupational safety issues are low; indicating a positive approach to a safe working environment. The paper also discusses the responses to specific maintenance questions relevant to the dam industry.
Tony Harman, Richard Herweynen, Malay Ghosh
Following a number of years of investigation into the condition of the existing 1960’s post tensioned anchors at Catagunya Dam Hydro Tasmania embarked on an options study to determine the best method to restore the dam stability to acceptable limits for the long term. The required solution was intended to not only resolve the issue of anchor deterioration but also to increase the flood capacity of the dam.
Based on preliminary design work a concrete buttress solution was recommended and approved for detailed design. The preliminary design utilised a simplified, 2-dimensional, rigid body model, including crack analysis. As part of the detailed design a finite element model was developed to refine the preliminary design. However, this model did not support the simplified analysis and further non-linear finite element analysis demonstrated that the proposed passive buttress design solution was not technically feasible. The options were reconsidered and the adopted solution was to replace the original anchors with new modern anchors with a high level of corrosion protection.
The new anchors adopted are the largest post tensioned anchor loading currently used for a dam in the world. This along with the existing post-tensioned anchors and the tight geometry of the dam, which has a central spillway with a cantilevered ogee crest, provided significant challenges with the design of this dam upgrade. Some of the key design challenges included:
– Appropriate level of modeling and analysis to be able to make sound design decisions. (Hydraulic modeling and FEA).
– Congestion due to the tight geometry of the original design.
– Anchor head block detail to ensure the loads would be adequately secured and dispersed into the dam body
– Crest cantilever support to ensure that structural integrity was retained during construction and later in service. Innovative installation of carbon fibre reinforcement was used.
– Strain compatibility. It was important to ensure the structural contribution of new and old working together and that the consequences of application of new large stresses was manageable.
– Existing anchor degradation. The design needed to ensure that stability compliance was achieved for complete to zero effectiveness over time.
– Maintaining operability of dam and power station during construction.
– Achieving an effective long term maintainable solution.
This paper will present the risk associated with committing to a solution too early and the design challenges and the solutions finally developed, providing the dam industry with a valuable reference for future similar projects.
Analysis and Design Challenges Associated with the Catagunya Dam Restoration Project
Paul C. Rizzo, Ph.D., P.E.; Carl Rizzo; John Bowen
The Authors served in key roles for the design and rebuild of the Dam for the Taum Sauk Rebuild Project between 2007 and 2009. Taum Sauk is the largest RCC Dam in the United States and has a symmetrical cross-section with conventional concrete faces upstream and downstream. The curvilinear shape and the cross-section presented a number of placement issues. In addition, a large number of “Lessons” were learned because of the rapid construction schedule, highly variable temperatures, highly confined working space, numerous details related to waterstops, construction joints and crest-to-gallery drains, foundation preparation, lift maturity, bedding mixes, crack repairs and the conventional concrete upstream face. The authors discuss these issues from the perspective of the Designer, Contractor and Construction Manager.
David Scriven, Errol Beitz, Aaron Elphinstone
The Bowen River Weir is located at AMTD 94.4 km on the Bowen River, some 25 km south of Collinsville in North Queensland. The weir is part of the Bowen/Broken Rivers Water Supply Scheme and it provides a pumping pool for pipelines serving two nearby coal mining developments and a power station, and also acts as a regulator for riparian water users downstream until it meets the Burdekin River.
The weir was constructed in 1982 and incorporated a fishway towards the southern (left) bank, the design of which was based on the old “pool and weir” fish ladder type layout, typical of that era, with 48 separate cells containing partial vertical slots and baffles. This design has since been found to be ineffective for Australian native fish. In addition it was often out of service due to cells becoming filled with river sediment and debris. For these reasons it was decommissioned and made safe in late 2008 on the condition that a new fishway be constructed.
In late 2008 agreement was reached with Fisheries Queensland to install a “fish lock” type fishway at the site. This type of fishway has in recent years proved to be reliable and effective (eg. successful fish locks at Neville Hewitt and Claude Wharton Weirs). The preliminary and then final design was undertaken by SunWater (Infrastructure Development) between September 2008 and March 2009. The construction was undertaken by SunWater direct management, commencing in July 2009 and completed in late 2010.
Bowen River Weir Fishway – Design and Construction
Dr Adam Butler, Robert Rigg, Glen Hobbs
The cost of maintenance is a serious problem. Preventive Maintenance is a good strategy if implemented well, but can led to unnecessary costs if items are replaced unnecessarily. Predictive maintenance can augment preventative maintenance by using real time instrumentation to monitor conditions. These techniques have been effective at recognizing the symptoms of impending machine failure
Glen Hobbs and Associates (GH&A) recently analysed pressure and displacement data from hydraulically actuated hoisting equipment of a large emergency closure fixed wheel gate. Data analysis enabled GH&A to pin-point causes of the gate malfunction. Anomalies in the data waveform corresponded to impacts and squeeze points in the system. Furthermore, comparing recent test data with older data highlighted gate deterioration over time.
Testing, analysis and trending of data enables asset managers to better predict the point at which maintenance really needs to be performed and shows that careful analysis of relevant data can help solve multi-faceted problems.
Keywords: Operations, Maintenance, Asset Management, Gates.