Jim Walker, Jamie Macgregor
The Pukaki Canal Inlet structure is a large gated culvert and stilling basin structure, it is a High PIC appurtenant structure to the Pukaki Dam, located in the Mackenzie Basin area of New Zealand’s South Island.
The 560m3/s capacity inlet structure is founded on glacial moraines. It controls flow from the178 km2 Lake Pukaki storage into the 80m wide, 22km long Pukaki/Ohau canal. It is the owner’s (Meridian Energy) most important valve, as it feeds 1550MW of hydro generation on the Waitaki River.
A risk assessment in late 2009 identified a previously unrecognised trigger for a potential failure mode for the stilling basin. Principally, ongoing erosion of the reinforced concrete base slab could lead to failure of water stops in the slab joints potentially leading to slab uplift, foundation erosion, and ultimately, catastrophic failure of the Pukaki Dam. To better define the risk to the structure, further inspection of the stilling basin was recommended.
A dewatered inspection of the stilling basin was required, as further dive inspections would not improve our understanding of structure condition. Because the stilling basin cannot be isolated from the canal, this requires dewatering the entire Pukaki/Ohau canal, presenting significant risks of damage to the canals from slumping and lining failure. A dewatered outage also has major business revenue impacts.
This paper describes how Meridian were able to take advantage of a transmission network outage, scheduled for just six days after the risk was identified, to plan, safely dewater, inspect, and rewater 22km of hydro canal, and not just to inspect the Pukaki Canal Inlet structure, but also to implement repairs to the stilling basin slab which have successfully mitigated the structure safety and operational risks. This huge undertaking involved mobilising an army of people, plant and materials, and cost over NZ$1.8m. From identifying the risk to the structure, to completing repairs took just 13 (very busy) days.
Lessons learned in the areas of dam safety and asset management are presented. As well as those contributing to the success of the project in seizing an opportunity to mitigate the identified dam safety and operational risks.
Rick Friedel, Len Murray, Gerrad Suter, James Penman, James Watt, Hendra Jitno
The Hidden Valley tailings storage facility (TSF) has set a new precedent in environmental management of tailings in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Modern mining in PNG arguably began with the development of Bougainville Copper in the late 1960s, and continued through to Ok Tedi, Porgera, Lihir, Misima (and others). These mines have proceeded with deep sea or riverine tailings deposition, rather than construction of a tailings dam to retain the mine waste within an impoundment; as is the practice throughout the majority of the mining industry.
The Hidden Valley TSF is comprised of two large earth and rock fill dams, raised by the downstream method. Starter dam construction was completed in 2009. At final height the Main Dam will be one of the highest tailings dams in the world. The dams are constructed of pit waste and therefore have the dual function of storing tailings and waste rock.
Construction of the starter dams and subsequent raises is complicated by conditions at the site. Water management was, and remains, the dominant issue. High rainfall, weak erosive soils, material availability, dense vegetation and remoteness of the site provide constant challenges to construction. The Observational Approach to construction was recommended by the designers and adopted by the mine operator. This involves a knowledgeable pre-assessment of what is likely to change and having contingency plans to deal with possible major issues. This approach allows changes to the design during construction so the “as-built” product is suited for the site, fit for purpose, and remains consistent with the overall intent of the design.
The TSF has been in operation since August 2009 and monitoring data of the structures has been collected during construction and operation. This data is reviewed to confirm design assumptions and assess dam performance.
Personnel involved with this project combined their experiences working in the PNG environment and dam building from other locations. This process led to close interaction between the mine operators, designers and construction teams. Team work and diligent construction practices were and will continue to be necessary to construct and operate the pioneering TSF in PNG.
Jim Walker, Sergio Vallesi, Neil Sutherland, Peter Amos, Tim Mills
The Tekapo Canal is a 26km long hydropower canal owned by Meridian Energy Ltd in New Zealand. Completed in 1976, the canal is 40m wide, 7m deep and has a capacity of 120m3/s. The canal was constructed from compacted local glacial soils with a compacted silt lining sourced from till deposits.
During 2007 and 2008 the canal showed signs of leakage where it crossed over a twin barrel culvert structure. In October 2008 a diver inspection identified depressions and sinkholes on the invert of the canal above the culvert. Approximately 6m3 of silty gravel lining material had settled. Testing showed direct and rapid connections between lining defects and seepage outflows at the culvert outlet headwall. Subsequent ground penetrating radar survey confirmed the presence of voids above the culvert barrels. Diver placed filling of the defects with granular materials was immediately implemented, and a series of remedial actions over the next four months were required to arrest deterioration and enable the canal to remain operational.
The paper describes the initial response to this situation and the immediate measures taken to prevent failure. It also describes the medium term and ongoing measures implemented to maintain the safety of the canal while permanent remediation requirements are assessed. The lessons learned from this event, and their impacts on Meridian’s Dam Safety Assurance Programme (DSAP) are also discussed.
Immediate response measures included ongoing filling of lining defects with filter gravel, intensive land based and diver surveillance of the canal, planning and resourcing for emergency contingency actions in the event that a risk of breach developed. Medium term measures included arresting leakage by placing a low permeability blanket of silty gravel over the damaged area using a concrete pump, and constructing external buttresses capable of safely withstanding large discharges should deterioration of the canal structure occur.
These short and medium term remedial measures were completed with the canal full and in operation and continue to perform well 20 months later. Continuing risk mitigation measures include enhanced surveillance and monitoring (land based and using divers), localised treatment of defects, as well as ongoing monitoring and review of the Dam Safety management regime and sustained Emergency Management preparedness.
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.
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.
Cubit T, Swindon A, Tanner D
Catagunya Dam is located on the Derwent River in Tasmania’s south east. During construction of the dam in early 1960’s 412 post-tensioned anchors were installed, however the integrity of the original anchors can no longer be assured. The stability of the dam was restored between 2008 and 2010 using 92 modern, large diameter, load monitorable and corrosion protected post-tensioned anchors. These are the most highly stressed anchors applied to a dam at this time.
Some of the key construction challenges included installing 53 anchors within an operating spillway, utilising a very limited construction window and replacing severed surface reinforcement using carbon fibre rods.
This paper details how these challenges were resolved and presents a number of innovative solutions developed along the way.