Rick W. Schultz P.E.
The Corps of Engineers Risk Management Center is undergoing a nationwide assessment of its navigation and flood control projects. Development of the methodology and tools used to determine probability of failure of mechanical and electrical systems for dams is being presented in this document. Development of the Weibull formulas for specific use in dam will be addressed along with use of fault tree analysis to determine system reliability.
Keywords: Dormant-Weibull Formula, Fault Tree, Characteristic Life of Components, Beta Shape Parameters, Inspection intervals.
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.
Karen Riddette, David Ho
Recent dam safety reviews of a number of Australian dams have identified that the arms of raised radial gates may be partially submerged by extreme flows which exceed the original design flood for the dam. Various design solutions have been proposed to secure and strengthen the radial gates, however an important concern is the potential for flow-induced vibration. Under extreme flood conditions, flows near the gate arms will be high-velocity, free-surface, with a steep angle of attack on the arm beams. Traditional hand calculations for computing vibrations are of limited applicability in this situation, and there is little published data available for this combination of flow conditions and arm geometry. A detailed study using CFD modelling of the potential for vibration around radial gate arms was carried out for Wyangala Dam. This paper presents the results of the validation and reveals some interesting flow patterns and vortex shedding behaviour.
Assessment of flow-induced vibration in radial gates during extreme flood
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.
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
G.L. Vaschetti, C.A. Verani, J.W. Cowland
Geomembranes are an established technique for long-term waterproofing of hydraulic structures including all types of dams, canals, tunnels and reservoirs.
Three construction projects are presented that feature unique waterproofing solutions leading to faster construction programmes and granting safer and longer service life at lower costs: The 35 m high Paradise Dam (aka Burnett River), Australia’s largest volume Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) dam waterproofed using a PolyVinylChloride (PVC) geomembrane sandwiched between prefabricated concrete panels and the RCC itself; The 50 m high multipurpose Meander Dam in Tasmania, designed as a RCC dam of the low cementitious content type whose imperviousness is provided by a PVC geomembrane installed in exposed position and mechanically anchored to the upstream face of the dam; And the Eidsvold Weir, a 115 m long 15.45 m high RCC structure used for water supply, waterproofed using an external PVC waterstop installed on the upstream face and able to accommodate the expected movements at the joints.
The paper will outline the technical details, installation and performance of the geomembranes.
Advantages gained from the use of a geomembrane waterproofing system on RCC dams – experiences from Australia