B. Ghahreman Nejad, H. Taiebat, M. Dillon and K. Seddon
One of the causes of tailings dam failure has been seismically induced liquefaction during earthquakes. Liquefaction, if mobilised, significantly reduces the stiffness and strength of affected soils in the embankment dam or its foundation and may lead to large deformations and dam failure. This paper reports the results of seismic liquefaction assessment and deformation analyses of Bobadil tailings dam located in Tasmania. The tailings dam consists of a perimeter rockfill starter dam which has been raised in stages using the “upstream” construction method. The embankment raises (formed by clay or coarse tailings) are constructed over a foundation of previously deposited tailings in the impoundment which is potentially susceptible to liquefaction. Extensive field and laboratory tests were carried out to assess the tailings liquefaction potential and also to determine the material properties required for seismic stability and deformation analyses. Numerical modelling of seismic liquefaction and deformation analyses were carried out to predict the magnitude and pattern of deformations that may lead to uncontrolled release of tailings. The results of these analyses are presented and compared with literature report of those observed during past earthquakes.
2011 – Numerical Modelling of Seismic Liquefaction for Bobadil Tailings Dam
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Michael Somerford and Steven Fox
The Water Corporation of Western Australia has been implementing the risk assessment process promulgated by ANCOLD for 12 years. This approach has been central to a $310 million dam safety remedial works program that has reduced life safety risk across the Water Corporation’s portfolio of dams by an order of magnitude. However, whilst this process has provided a rational basis to prioritise dam safety upgrades, there are still questions that have not been fully answered and further development of the application of risk assessment to dams is desirable.
This paper revisits some of the key concerns that remain evident with the process and argues that unless further guidance is provided it may be that dam safety upgrades have effectively “hit the wall”; and upgrade programs commenced may never be completed as envisaged by ANCOLD.
2011 – Western Australian Dam Safety Challenges for ANCOLD Part 2
Stuart Richardson,Tusitha Karunaratne
Goulburn-Murray Water (G-MW) manages 16 large dams across Northern Victoria. Since January 2010 after 10 years of continuous drought a number of significant and historic maximum floods were passed through some of these dams. Although these floods are not considered extreme in a dam safety context, for downstream communities they presented very real emergency situations. There has been significant community concern regarding the impact of the floods resulting in several inquiries.
G-MW has maintained and annually reviewed comprehensive Dam Safety Emergency Management Plans (DSEP) since 1997. During 2009 G-MW began developing and documenting a systemised approach to dam’s management, operation and emergency response by developing and integrating its Operations and Maintenance Manuals, Flood Incident Management Plans and Dam Safety Emergency Management Plans. The plans have been developed to align with the Australian Inter Service Incident Management System (AIIMS) which G-MW uses as its corporate incident response framework.
This paper provides an overview of the benefits of having structured and integrated manuals and response plans for managing assets, flood and extreme events. The paper also shares G-MW’s experiences in developing this integrated management approach.
Workshop paper – Karunaratne 2011 – Management of Floods in 2010 and 2011 through Goulburn-Murray Water Dams
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.
George Bolliger and Clare Bales
Traditionally, the dams engineering profession has been a career path for engineers of civil/structural or geotechnical persuasion. As dams are constructed there is understandably a predominate focus on the civil requirements. Beyond the first few years of the dam’s life, effective operation and maintenance becomes increasingly important. A number of mechanical/electrical components and plant items form part of the critical infrastructure of the dam. A good maintenance routine is an essential requirement of the dam safety management program.
State Water Corporation, as the owner of 20 large dams and over 280 weir and regulator structures, runs a dam safety management program that is in line with the Australian National Committee on Large Dams Guidelines and NSW Dams Safety Committee requirements. The maintenance procedures and outcomes are audited through an internal maintenance audit program.
The maintenance audits form an integral part of the total asset management plan as well as the dam safety program. They are used to identify areas of strength as well as common errors or defects. Using State Water’s internal maintenance audits as case studies, the paper elaborates the role of maintenance audit program in enabling a cultural change to further include mechanical/electrical aspects and thereby enhance the longevity and safety of the assets.
Cultural Change – A Mechanical Perspective on Dam Safety Management
Bruce Brown, Mark Coghill
Tailings management practices have evolved significantly over the last 30 to 40 years with emphasis on long term geotechnical and geochemical stability to meet community expectations and company liabilities. The main drivers have been environmental protection both during operations and post closure, public safety and water conservation. Mining companies have become aware of the significant risks resulting from the operation of tailings facilities with a number of high profile failures occurring in recent times. The common practice of building a containment structure and depositing tailings as unthickened slurry is being challenged and tested against alternative tailings treatment technologies. These include high rate thickening, paste thickening and filtration. The potential benefits of these technologies include significant reduction in process water losses, reduced design duties for the confinement structures and improved conditions for closure. Notwithstanding these potential benefits, very few facilities have implemented the new technologies due to economic constraints imposed by the evaluation methods used by the mining industry. This paper summarises the available tailings treatment technologies and the resulting implications for tailings facility design. It reviews the benefits and critiques the economic evaluation method currently in use and recommends that the industry changes its evaluation methodology to drive future trends.
Tailings Storage, Current and Future Trends