Justin Howes, Peter Amos
For many years Mighty River Power has operated an intensive Dam Safety Assurance Programme with respect to our nine large hydro assets, a unique run of river cascade system built between 1927 and 1972. From 2001 to 2007 the Arapuni Foundation Enhancement Project was a high profile activity, but there has also been much dam safety analysis and minor mitigation work that could be classified as “Business As Usual Dam Safety Activity” – this paper seeks to give a high level overview of the work carried out from 2000 to 2010. Items covered include; an overview of the hydraulic structures, their hydrological and geological setting, and the current dam safety regime. Examples of typical issues identified by the Programme are given on a structure by structure basis along the river. Seismic, Flooding, Emergency Planning, Documentation, Monitoring, Control, Electrical and Mechanical type issues are covered.
Graeme Maher, Richard Herweynen, Martin Mallen-Cooper and Stuart Marshall
Increasing awareness of the environmental impact of dams means that fish passage is emerging as a critical issue for both existing and new dams in Australia.
The fish passage and outlet works for Wyaralong Dam, a new dam currently under construction, required accommodation of large ranges of head and tailwater levels. The solution that has been adopted, a bi‐directional fishlift using a single hopper with trapping for downstream fish movement occurring within the intake tower, is a world first. The solution required the innovative integration of a number of existing technologies to create a system which is necessarily complex, yet reliable and effective.
The paper incorporates discussion of the critical design constraints, the biology of fish passage, the process adopted to reach the concept solution and a description of the final design including its integration with the outlet works. A number of design issues and their solution are discussed in detail, particularly those associated with dealing with the complexity of the design constraints and how the components of the solution were integrated into a seamless design.
The paper will be of use to those involved in the process of providing fish passage on both existing and new structures that obstruct river flow.
A Bi-Directional Fishlift – An Innovative Solution for Fish Passage
Thomas Vasconi, Mike Gowan
This paper describes the methodology adopted for the design of a 180 m-high stepped chute spillway to be constructed on a mine tailings storage facility (TSF) in Africa. This TSF dam, constructed using the “downstream method”, will be raised progressively via a series of nine lifts as mining proceeds. The first eight will be equipped with an operational spillway sized for the 1in 10,000 AEP whilst the ninth will house the closure spillway sized for the Probable Maximum Flood. The problem, common to all staged tailings dams, is how to design the spillways for such raising sequence? The very steep ridge declivity favored locating them in a unique configuration rather than the more usual separate hillside spillway on each dam abutment. The design of such spillways was challenging since it had to integrate the TSF interdependency parameters (water balance, dam raise sequence) whilst including flood routing, spillway sizing, stepped spillway design components. Challenging aspects of the design also included optimizing the costs associated with the short service life of these spillways. Furthermore, the design was undertaken in a way that the operating stepped chute could be upgraded and reused at mine closure. The design incorporates an innovative solution which allows reduction in the rock armouring quantity of up to 40% with associated cost benefits, and sustainability in terms of material usage. The lessons learnt in applying this innovative and sustainable design are useful for other sites requiring adaptive construction and short service life spillways.
Keywords: Tailings storage facility, stepped chute spillway, hydrology, hydraulics, mine water management.
An essential criterion for any new dam project in Australia is to provide for passage of fish past the structure in both the upstream and downstream direction. In recent projects with a relatively high barrier this has been provided by mechanised systems such as locks, lifts or a combination of both.
A nature-like fishway provides for passage of fish past a barrier by applying some of the features of natural streams. The concept has been increasingly applied to fishway designs in North America and Europe. A nature-like fishway will provide variable flow depths, velocities and turbulence across its width and along its length and is constructed using natural materials to simulate the natural stream characteristics. The variable flow conditions coupled with the use of natural materials inherently result in different channel substrates that support the passage of a large range and size of fish species as well as other aquatic species. Where fish habitat has been depleted, a nature-like fishway can also supplement and enhance aquatic habitat.
The performance of nature-like fishways can be difficult to quantify due the very nature of the system. However, qualitative assessments in North America are indicating that a wide range of species are using such fishways and that fish species that were previously extirpated from rivers are again migrating.
The nature-like fishway concept has been applied to in-stream structures up to four metres high in the eastern states of Australia. However, the substantial progress made with this design in North America and Europe has not as yet been applied in this country.
This paper analyses the advantages and disadvantages of nature-like fishways over mechanised systems, such as locks and lifts, and makes an assessment of the suitability of the concept to dams in Australia with relatively high walls.
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.
Ted Montoya, David Hughes, Orville Werner
The existing Hinze Dam was raised beginning in 2007 to increase water storage capacity, improve its ability to regulate floods, and raise the level of structural safety as compared to the current dam. As part of the 15 m raise of Hinze Dam, the existing 33 m high spillway structure was raised using mass concrete. This new composite structure was constructed as a downstream raise, placing mass concrete on the downstream and top of the existing spillway. The designers of the composite spillway structure developed a finite-element model to consider the early expansion and subsequent slow contraction of the new concrete against the existing concrete. The temperature rise of the new section of mass concrete had to be monitored and controlled to reduce the tensile strains along its interface with the existing spillway, and differential temperatures had to be limited to avoid cracking of the new mass section. Low-heat cement for a conventional mass concrete mix was not readily available so a mix was developed using local materials.
Typical mass concrete dams are monolithic structures constructed with lowheat cement. The Hinze Dam spillway design was predicated on the use of materials readily available. The paper presents the assumptions, methods, and criteria that were used in developing the mass concrete mix. It also presents the means and methods for tracking temperature gain during construction of the raised spillway, and how temperature was influenced by placement temperature, construction sequencing, and seasonal conditions. Lastly, the paper will compare the actual performance of the mix with the design analysis, laboratory testing, and finite element studies that were performed during the design.