Richard R. Davidson, Joergen Pilzand Bruce Brown
Recent earthquakes in Chile, New Zealand and Japan have created a new focus on the safe design of tailings dams in seismic regions of the world. Building sand and rockfill embankments to sustain large ground motions and provide crucial drainage of excess pore pressures remain daunting challenges at each site. Are conventional hydraulic deposition practices still viable? What new technologies can be considered? Addressing seismic stability of existing upstream method tailings dams whether currently in operation or closed is stretching our seismic geotechnical engineering profession to its limits of understanding of behaviour. Creating a safe, secure environmental storage must also be integrated with the geotechnical and hydrologic concerns. Is there a viable risk context to consider these competing issues? This paper will raise these issues within the international context and suggest a prudent path forward.
2011 – The Challenges of Building Tailings Dams in Seismic Regions
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Mark R. Sinclair & Richard J. Rodd
Over the last six years there have been ongoing significant developments in the design, fabrication and particularly of the corrosion protection details for high capacity ( >13,500kN MBL ) re-stressable ground anchors used to improve stability of gravity dams. These Australian based developments and the resultant specifications and details have now become the de-facto standards adopted.
The ANCOLD Register dams to have had this generation of cables installed have included; Ross River Dam, Lake Manchester Dam, Catagunya Dam, Tinaroo Falls Dam and Wellington Dam. These projects include the highest capacity permanent ground anchors installed to date worldwide. Some smaller capacity anchors installed into dams have also benefited from this technology.
The Recent Developments and Application of Large Ground Anchors for
Alex Gower, Graeme Mannand Peter Hulcup
The Water Corporation is the principal dam owner in Western Australian with a portfolio of 70 dams. Many of these dams are more than 30 years old and were designed and constructed prior to the writing of most occupational health and safety legislation and associated regulations and standards. Achieving compliance with these regulations and standards on the older assets has led to increasingly complex procedures and increased costs to undertake what were previously routine inspection, operation and maintenance tasks. In some cases achieving compliance has become impractical and modification to the assets is required.
This paper discusses a range of different safety issues, hazards and challenges faced at dams in Western Australia. These include prevention of falls from height, rescue of injured personnel within intake towers and drainage galleries and public access on the dams. Solutions adopted to improve safety and security for operators and the public are presented.
2011 – Safer Access at Water Corporation Dams
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
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.
Amanda Ament, Jon Williams, Malcolm Barker
Aplins Weir is located on the Ross River in Townsville, downstream from the Ross River Dam. Previous work had identified Aplins Weir as exhibiting factors of safety below 1.0 under normal operating conditions, with over 1000 persons at risk today in the event of failure. Originally constructed in the early 1920s, Aplins Weir has been upgraded and repaired following various failures on a number of occasions. The end result is a complex reinforced concrete and steel sheet pile composite structure reliant for stability on a number of unreliable components. This paper presents the historical data describing the current configuration of the weir, and the analyses required to evaluate the extisting structure, leading to the design of the proposed upgrade works. The final design involves a retrofit of large diameter cast-in-place lined piles and a heavily reinforced base overlay slab designed to completely bypass all existing vulnerable substructure elements.
2011 – Where is our Weir going – an Unusual Upgrade!