Shao Kwan Ng
Asset management aims to ensure that assets, such as dams, are sustainable. In order to achieve this, management decisions need to be defensible and the long-term impacts of short-term decisions need to be clearly demonstrated, such that an asset operates and is maintained in an appropriate fashion and in a satisfactory condition. Expert rule systems are becoming widely recognised as powerful and elegant tools suitable for engineering and management decision-making. They are powerful, transparent and flexible tools that mimic how people make decisions, and hence provide a natural way of thinking for decision-making. This paper reviews the current usage of expert systems in asset management, and illustrates the potential of these tools, in conjunction with the available (ANCOLD) guidelines, to assist dam owners in decision-making, such as in condition evaluation and dam hazard assessment applications.
Keywords: Decision-making, expert rule systems.
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Richard Herweynen, Robert Montalvo, John Ager
The choice of materials used in the construction of a dam is one of the most critical decisions in the design process. Our natural behaviour as engineers is to adopt materials which have proven performance, and which conform to Australian or international standards, which sometimes causes us to overlook the specific conditions and demands of the project at hand. In an environment where the majority of concrete produced is for structural purposes, the properties of these concretes is often vastly different to those desired for mass concrete structures such as dams and spillways.
The big question at Wyaralong Dam was could onsite aggregate be used in the Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC)? The Wyaralong Dam is located in the Gatton Sandstone (early Jurassic), predominantly feldspathic to lithic‐feldspathic sandstones with a clay matrix. Early analyses and tests suggested that the Gatton Sandstone was not suitable for RCC aggregate due to a 68% wet/dry strength reduction, high water absorption (5.2 – 7.5%) and petrographic interpretation that clay content was mainly swelling clay, leading to durability concerns.
Due to significant community, safety and cost issues with importing aggregate, Wyaralong Dam Alliance (WDA), during the development of the RCC mix design for Wyaralong Dam, chose to pursue the use of onsite quarried sandstone aggregate instead of importing aggregate. Additional petrographic and XRD analyses and extensive durability tests were undertaken on cores of sandstone and RCC samples, including wet‐dry cycles, soak tests in ethylene glycol, soaks in sodium hydroxide, and heating and cooling cycles. These tests indicated that, if swelling clays are present, they do not impact the durability behavior of the RCC aggregate.
The substantial effort put into testing the sandstone aggregate has paid off for WDA. Not only have the results indicated that the RCC mix performs remarkably well in terms of durability, but the very low modulus of elasticity of the mix has provided exceptional performance in terms of thermal loading; with all the related benefits in reduced restrictions to placement schedule and cooling requirements. Onsite sandstone was not only proven to be a feasible option, it has been demonstrated that it is the best option for the project. Details of the study are provided in this paper.
Keywords: Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC), Sandstone, Aggregate, Clay, Mix, Durability
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.
David Ryan, Peter Richardson, William Steen
Ibis Creek Dam, a referable dam and classified as a mass concrete gravity structure, was constructed in 1906 to supply water for both tin ore processing and the local township of Irvinebank. Irvinebank is a small township near Atherton in North Queensland and is situated about 3 km downstream of the dam. The mill ceased operation in 1990 but the township of Irvinebank remains reliant on the dam for water supply.
In 1996 the dam was raised about 1 m and strengthened by the addition of mass concrete on the crest and downstream face.
One recommendation of the Safety Review conducted in 2009 was that an investigation be made of the strength of the lift joints and the shear capacity of the connection between the Stage I and Stage II concrete sections. The investigations revealed that the structure was not constructed as had been originally assumed and the overall stability of the structure had been overestimated.
This paper details the investigations and remedial works proposed to strengthen the structure so that it complies with current design standards.
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.
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.