Monique de Moel, A/Professor Jayantha Kodikara, Dr Gamini Adikari
All embankment dams have some seepage as the impounded water seeks paths of least resistance through the dam and its foundation. Seepage must, however, be controlled to prevent internal erosion of the embankment or foundation and avoid damage to surrounding structures. Embankment dams are designed to operate under controlled steady state seepage, which over time may change due to movement in the foundation and the dam, chemical actions and other forms of deterioration. Effective monitoring of seepage within embankment dams is therefore essential in regards to management of dam safety and prevention of failure.
Traditional methods of seepage monitoring have involved measurement or visual monitoring on the downstream side of the dam after the seepage has occurred. Effective, early detection of seepage in embankment dams has been difficult as it originates and develops in the subsurface. Infrared Thermal Imaging is such a technique that is non-contact, non-intrusive, simple and flexible. The analysis draws on the temperature behaviour and the heat capacity of materials within the body of the dam and consequently allows the user to identify and isolate temperature variations along the surface of interest. This paper describes the method, application and feasibility of infrared thermal imaging for the detection of seepage in earth and rockfill embankment dams. The value of this technique as an additional tool in the surveillance of dams is discussed.
Infrared thermal imaging has been in use in other fields of engineering for condition monitoring and defect detection of structures. It has shown great potential in identifying variations in surface characteristics, which may not be evident through visual inspection alone. In this paper, reliability of this technique for seepage detection in embankment dams has been analysed using 8 case studies in order to arrive at a fair understanding of the best conditions under which Infrared Thermal Imaging field inspections should be carried out. The results of field investigations undertaken at these dams suggest that Infrared Thermal Imaging is a useful and effective tool for detection of seepage and an aid in identifying seepage behaviour.
Keywords: Seepage Detection, Infrared Thermal Imaging, Dam Surveillance, Monitoring
Hamish Smith, Graeme Maher
In order to achieve environmental sustainability it has become standard engineering practice to include a fishway on all new or refurbished large dams in Australia.
As regulators expand their understanding of fishways, project approval conditions associated with these complex engineering structures are changing. Regulators now increasingly wish to participate in the development and selection of the final fishway to be adopted.
This paper describes the process developed and implemented at Queensland’s most recent dam under construction, the Wyaralong Dam, to ensure that the views and opinions of regulators and stakeholders were sought and considered during the fishway selection and design process.
With no written guidelines available on “how to select and design a suitable fishway”, all associated parties entered into the process without a full knowledge of how it would unfold and what the final outcome would be.
This paper demonstrates that in an increasingly regulated environment it is possible to have regulators, proponents and stakeholders work cooperatively together to achieve a result that provides for sustainable development and is acceptable to all parties.
This paper will provide a model that could be adopted for the development of new fishways or the refurbishment of existing fishways on large dams in Australasia.
Changing Regulatory Environment – Large Dams and Fishways
Jiri Herza, Nihal Vitharana, Alex Gower
The Western Australia Water Corporation plans to increase the storage capacity of Millstream Dam, which is located near Bridgetown in the south west region of WA. The existing dam is an 18 m high zoned earthfill embankment constructed in 1962. The dam suffered a block heave of the foundation at the downstream toe during the first filling, probably attributable to high foundation pore water pressures. The dam upgrade will be challenging due to complex and unfavourable foundation soils coupled with these artesian pressures.
The dam is founded on lateritic soil, which is a common weathering profile throughout the region. These soils formed in a tropical environment of fluctuating water tables, severe leaching and translocation of iron oxides over many millions of years. As a consequence some of the lateritic horizons at Millstream Dam have been modified such that they exhibit behaviours that are not consistent with conventional constitutive models and correlations. These are attributed to a complex structure of the soil microfabric, which comprises clay particles bonded together into larger aggregates. The clayey aggregates are also bonded to each other, forming a porous matrix of silty or sandy appearance characterized by low dry density and high void ratio, which may nevertheless disintegrate on working.
Comprehensive geotechnical investigations and extensive laboratory testing have revealed that the foundation materials display characteristics of clayey and granular soils. Under shearing, these soils demonstrate high initial strength, which gradually reduces as the inter-aggregate bonds are broken and the relative position of the aggregates changes. Several soil samples also exhibited significant contractive behaviour on shearing generating high pore pressures under undrained conditions.
This paper presents the investigation and design methods used in the foundation design of the Millstream Dam upgrade with emphasis on unusual behaviour of the foundation media.
Challenges in dam design on lateritic soils
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.
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.
Keirnan Fowler, Peter Hill, Phillip Jordan, Rory Nathan, Kristen Sih
Although there are considerable uncertainties in the science of climate change, there is a growing recognition of the importance of the issue. Incorporation of climate change impacts is now required in policy guidance from several government authorities and it is prudent risk management to consider the effects of climate change in planning for water resource infrastructure, including assessment and design of dam upgrades. This paper describes the potential impact of climate change on extreme flood estimates and provides a case study for Dartmouth Dam in south-eastern Australia. Three inputs to flood estimation were considered according to the projected impact of climate change; namely design rainfalls, modelled losses and initial reservoir level. The relative influence of each of these factors is explored. Rainfall and losses had a similar (and opposite) influence on results and for this dam the reservoir level prior to the flood event had the largest influence on results. This case study demonstrates that the insights of climate modellers and hydrologists need to be integrated in order to provide defensible estimates of the impact of climate change in flood hydrology studies. Credible projections of changes in design rainfall intensities are required for the full range of exceedance probabilities across Australia.
Application of Available Climate Science to Assess the Impact of Climate Change on Spillway Adequacy