This paper provides the insight of one practitioner into the process and application of Dam Safety Risk Assessment. The ANCOLD Guidelines on Risk Assessment provide a reasonably comprehensive outline of the key tasks involved in the risk assessment process. The intent of this paper is not to rehash the Guidelines but rather to discuss some of the practicalities of completing a dam safety risk assessment and highlight some key learning’s gained from a wide range of projects for a number of different owners.
The paper includes a brief overview of each component of the risk assessment process as well as some of the advantages and disadvantages of the various approaches to completing a risk assessment project.
2011 – Dam Safety Risk Assessment – A Practitioner’s Perspective
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Awoonga Dam is the sole source of water for the City of Gladstone and the heavy industries in the region. The area’s distribution reservoirs hold little more than a day’s supply. Extended water supply disruption could have severe economic impacts.
The nine large valves in the inlet tower and river outlet of the dam cannot be inspected or maintained without shutting down the entire water abstraction system. Consequentially limited maintenance has been carried out in the 25 years since the valves were installed.
Recent Dam Safety inspections carried out for the dam owner, the Gladstone Area Water Board (GAWB,) noted some deterioration of the valves and recommended that the valves should be removed, inspected and refurbished as necessary
GAWB was thus presented with a daunting challenge to refurbish valves at Awoonga Dam, as it was generally believed that their removal for refurbishment would not be possible within the time limitations imposed by the system and customer requirements.
In 2008 GAWB commissioned GHD to develop a strategy to refurbish the valves within a 12 hour shutdown period. The strategy proposed and adopted required a rigorous risk management approach and close collaboration between GAWB’s operational staff, two contractors and the consulting engineers. The work was successfully completed during 2011.
This paper discussed the strategies and processes developed and how the project planning, supervision and execution was driven by the risk management based approach. It also highlights some of the experiences and lessons learnt during the project.
2011 – Refurbishing Outlet Valves utilising Shutdown Periods
Bob Wark, Alex Gower, Paul Hurstand Sofia Vargas-Pedroza
ANCOLD has been working towards setting up guidelines for outlet works and has a standing committee that is addressing this issue. Recent papers have addressed the issues of current technical practice. However the authors believe that there is a sufficient body of experience available from recent incidents to provide a valuable tool that the guidelines can use to address the issues that are important. The authors have identified almost 40 incidents with outlet works that have occurred over the last 40 years, many of them within the last 20 years and have tabulated them as part of this paper. These range from the interesting to those that can and have threatened worker safety and life. The paper outlines the most significant of these and summarises the causes and corrective action necessary.
Horror Stories with Outlet Works
Kirsty Carroll, Kelly Maslin, Richard Rodd
Melbourne Water manages over 210 retarding basins across Greater Melbourne ranging in size from 4ML to 4700 ML with embankment heights from 0.3m to 10m. Over the years the basins have been designed and constructed by a range of different owners and authorities. Varying design and construction standards with the majority of retarding basins generally being located in highly urbanised areas, has resulted in Melbourne Water having a large portfolio of assets that have potential to pose a significant risk to the downstream communities they are designed to protect.
High level hazard category assessments completed over the last10 years identified that approximately 90 structures were either High or Extreme hazard categories based on the ANCOLD Guidelines on Assessment of the Consequences of Dam Failure.
In an attempt to identify retarding basins requiring priority consideration for remedial works Melbourne Water embarked on a process of completing a dam safety risk assessment for five of the retarding basins in accordance with the ANCOLD Guidelines on Risk Assessment. The objective of the risk assessment was to develop an understanding of the key risk issues that might affect retarding basins as distinct from water supply storages, identify potential remedial works and develop a prioritised risk management strategy for the five basins considered. In completing the risk assessment there was also significant discussion about ways to streamline the process to allow assessment of the remaining basins.
This paper details the results obtained from the risk assessment, investigates the application of the base safety condition and implementation of a risk management strategy. It also looks at similarities between sites to enable common upgrades to be implemented across the range of retarding basins. This paper also discusses the need for guidelines specific to retarding basins to be developed.
How do you solve a problem like retarding basins? An asset owner’s perspective
Ben Hanslow and David Brett
The Blackman Dam is a 27 m high, zoned earthfill dam located upstream of the township of Tunbridge in the Tasmanian Midlands. The dam has an estimated storage capacity of 7300 ML and an assigned Hazard Rating of High C.
The Blackman Dam was constructed over the period November 2003 to September 2004. The dam supplies water for irrigation to farms in the area and potentially to the local towns of Tunbridge and Oatlands.
Filling of the Blackman Dam commenced in 2005. After substantial filling of the dam and following a heavy rain event, an area of seepage was noted on the far left abutment of the main embankment mid morning of Thursday 13th October 2005. The seepage was reported by the dam operators as being “garden hose flow”. By mid afternoon of that day, this had increased to “100 mm pipe flow” and discoloured. The Dam Safety Emergency Plan was activated.
This paper discusses lessons learnt and provides details on the implementation of the Dam Safety Emergency Plan and emergency actions taken to successfully avoid a breach of the dam wall. The paper also provides details on the geotechnical investigations that were carried out and factors contributing to the piping failure. Embankment repairs were successfully completed by mid 2010 and first filling of the Blackman Dam occurred in 2011.
R.J. Nathan, P.I. Hill, and P.E. Weinmann
The current definition of the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) is open to subjective interpretation, and this lack of objectivity can lead to inconsistencies in the application of risk-based and standards-based criteria. This paper summarises the different approaches used to estimate the PMF, and highlights how these reflect differences in the availability of design information and local tradition and experience. A number of approaches are available that can aid the objective definition of the PMF. These approaches attempt to define the “reasonableness” of the manner in which the various flood producing factors are combined by reference to the relative shift in the annual exceedance probability of the event. The implications of the different approaches to deriving the PMF are summarised for a number of dams from across Australia. Guidance on deriving the PMF is provided in the paper with a view to seeking feedback from industry and consideration for inclusion in relevant guidelines.