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.
Jared Deible, Richard Herweynen, Gary Dow
The foundation is an important element in the stability of any dam. Understanding the foundation and the potential failure mechanisms associated with the dam foundation is critical to developing the final dam design. This paper will discuss the challenges encountered with the foundation at the Taum Sauk Upper Reservoir Dam and the Wyaralong Dam.
The Upper Reservoir of the Taum Sauk project is a 2.3 million cubic metre roller compacted concrete (RCC) dam located near Ironton, Missouri, USA. The RCC dam was constructed in accordance with United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) guidelines to replace a rockfill dike that failed abruptly on December 14, 2005. Wyaralong Dam is a new RCC dam, for water supply, located on the Teviot Brook near the township of Beaudesert in south-east Queensland.
Wyaralong and Taum Sauk each had challenges associated with identifying potential failure mechanisms in the foundation and with analysing the stability of the dam for these potential failure mechanisms. The geology at the projects was very different, but challenges for each project were quantifying the amount of reliance that was placed on the rock mass at the toe of the dam, developing the shear strength parameters, and developing the associated failure mechanisms that would be analysed.
The design of Wyaralong and the rebuilt Taum Sauk Upper Reservoir, including the geometry of the dam sections, were developed based on the foundation features at each project. Foundation treatments and excavation designs were developed based on the stability analyses conducted during the design phase. These foundation treatments included removal of weak layers or defects where necessary, but features were left in place in the foundation at selected locations at each project. Where features were left in place, stability analyses concluded the dam was stable. The stability analyses at each project considered three dimensional effects along features in the foundation where appropriate.
As the foundation was uncovered during the construction phase of each project, the parameters used in the stability analysis conducted during the design phase were confirmed or adjusted. The excavation and foundation preparation activities were adjusted as necessary based on actual conditions during the construction phase.
Challenges Associated with Identifying and Analysing Potential Failure Mechanisms in Dam Foundations – Taum Sauk Upper Reservoir Dam & Wyaralong Dam Case Studies
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.
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
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.