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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The large flood inundating areas of Brisbane and Ipswich along the lower Brisbane River below Wivenhoe Dam in January 2011 was extensively reported by the media. An independent Commission of Inquiry was formed soon after the flood with broad terms of reference including matters related to dam operations. Prior to the Inquiry hearings and findings, reporting in the media continued and made strong allegations of blame of the flood on dam operations. The media relied on limited expertise but the articles were portrayed and subsequently re-produced by other media outlets as ‘expert’ analyses. The author’s interpretation is that media claims were misleading and damaging to the public confidence in the role of dams for flood mitigation, and this damage occurred before official Inquiry findings were available.
A brief summary is presented of now publicly available credible reports on the flood event, and a summary is also presented of the key matters and allegations reported in the media related to the dam operations. An analysis and commentary of media reporting on the flood operations of the Wivenhoe Dam is presented in the context of time and people with reference to information and expertise available to the media, and media conduct in relation to fair public interest and professional practice.
Matters of importance for objective and informed knowledge of key technical matters in relation to operation of dams, dam safety, and the inevitable extremes of nature and floods are discussed. The paper then examines the roles and possible limitations of dams engineering professionals in relation to media reporting of such matters.
This paper solely focuses on matters of media examination of the floods and dam operations, and generally does not comment on technical matters that are in the terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry.
2011 – January 2011 Brisbane River Floods and Examination by Media of the Dam Operations
John Grimston, Robin Dawson
The Ambuklao and Binga Hydro-Electric Power Projects are located in Luzon, Philippines and were privatised in early 2008 after public bidding. Ambuklao dam forms an impoundment on the Agno River. The nearest city, Baguio, is approximately 45km or 1.5hrs drive away. The key headworks feature is an embankment central core rockfill dam and reaches a maximum height of some 129 m above the bed of the Agno River. A gated spillway is located at the left abutment, with a steep chute and flip bucket. Binga dam forms an impoundment approximately 20 km downstream of the Ambuklao dam. The rockfill embankment with an inclined clay core reaches a height of about 107 m above the bed of the Agno River. The spillway is located at the left abutment.
Heavy tropical rains and typhoons can cause very high flows in the rivers leading into the Ambuklao and Binga reservoirs. PMF peak flow is 11,600 cumecs. Due to the steep slopes surrounding the reservoir and along the access roads to the Binga Dam, landslides can create a hazard in the reservoir or for emergency access to the dam. There are numerous active faults in the area, including the Abra, Digdig and Philippines Faults (the latter being one of the most active faults around the Philippines). The region around the dams is capable of and has experienced earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter Scale. This was demonstrated by the 1990 earthquake (7.8 magnitude) and caused minor damage to the dam structures.
The Project owner commenced rehabilitation implementation planning immediately after purchasing the facilities aimed at reactivating the Ambuklao plant’s 75MW capacity (inoperable since 1999 due to reservoir siltation issues triggered by the 1990 earthquake) and increasing it to 105MW. Rehabilitation at the Binga plant will increase capacity from it’s current 100MW to 120MW. The overall rehabilitation works include plant, intakes, associated tunnels, etc. This paper will focus primarily on the dam and spillway related rehabilitation, studies and design including review of the PMF and spillway capacity for both dams, Ambuklao innovative upstream face rehabilitation, Ambuklao spillway studies and rehabilitation and Binga spillway works and reservoir sedimentation studies.
2011 – Refurbishment of Ambuklao and Binga Hydro Power Dams and Appurtenant Works
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
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
Rory Nathan, Peter Hill
This paper provides an overview of the different simulation frameworks used for the estimation of design floods.. For small events the behaviour of many flood modifying factors is highly variable and chaotic, whereas as the magnitude of the event increases so does the organising influence of the dominant meteorologic conditions. The approach to design flood estimation will depend upon the availability of data and the exceedance probabilities of interest. The techniques can vary from frequency analysis of the data recorded at a site to rainfall-runoff modelling with design rainfall inputs derived from regional frequency analysis. For extreme floods, which are of relevance for assessing flood loadings for dams and the assessment of spillway adequacy, the stochastic (Monte Carlo) approach offers a number of advantages over the traditional deterministic approach. Although there has been significant progress in design flood estimation practice in Australia over the last couple of decades there remains many significant research and training needs.