The design of tailings dams under earthquake loading is quite challenging due to the nature of the tailings materials which are generally liquefiable under earthquake shaking. The design will be more complicated when the dam foundation is also liquefiable material. While assessment of liquefaction potentials is well developed in practice, assessment of liquefaction induced deformation varies from the simplest Newmark’s displacement method to the more complex effective stress dynamic analysis approach. It is generally accepted that the simplified method can be used for cases involving non-liquefiable materials. However, the use of this method for cases involving liquefaction may generally result in overly conservative designs to cater for the many simplified
assumptions in the method. With the advance of computer technology, time and cost are no longer obstacles for using the more appropriate method for estimating liquefaction-induced deformations of a tailings dams and achieving an optimum dam design.
This paper attempts to critically discuss issues in seismic design of tailings dams and provide an example of the use of the effective stress dynamic analysis method to estimate the liquefaction-induced deformations of a tailings dam and its importance in optimizing the design. The approach used is capable of estimating pore pressure response of liquefiable materials at any given time during the shaking. The effective stress analysis method used herein is embedded in FLAC software using a specially written FISH routine. Using this method, it can be demonstrated that although liquefaction is an issue, it does not necessarily mean that we must prevent its occurrence. As long as the deformation is acceptable, liquefaction is not necessarily a ‘show stopper’ for the project.
Keywords: liquefaction, seismic deformation, tailings dam design.
Simon Lang, Peter Hill, Wayne Graham
The empirical method developed by Graham (1999) is the most widely used in Australia to estimate potential loss of life from dam failure. It is likely to remain that way while spatially based dynamic simulation models are not publicly available (e.g. LIFESim, HEC-FIA and LSM). When the Graham (1999) approach was first developed the prevalence of spatial data and the speed of computers was much less. In addition, most people did not have mobile phones, social media was in its infancy, and automatic emergency alert telephone systems were 10 years from being used in Australia. Graham (1999) was intended to be applied to populations at risk (PAR) lumped into a discrete number of reaches. The selection of fatality rates for the PAR in each reach was based on average flood severity and dam failure warning times. Today, there is typically much more spatially distributed data available to those doing dam failure consequence assessments. Often a property database is available that identifies the location of each individual building where PAR may be, along with estimates of flood depths and velocities at those buildings. News of severe flooding is likely to be circulated by Facebook, Twitter and e-mail, in conjunction with official warnings provided by emergency agencies through radio and television and emergency alert telephone systems.
This raises the question of how Graham (1999) is best applied in today’s digital age. This paper explores some of the issues, including the estimation of dam failure warning time, using Graham (1999) to estimate loss of life in individual buildings and the suitability of Graham (1999) for estimating loss of life for very large PAR.
Keywords: loss of life, dam safety, risk analysis.
Louise Thomas, Graeme Mann, Alex Gower
Mundaring Weir is a 41m high concrete gravity dam that was built in c.1900 to supply water to the Western Australian goldfields towns of Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie. The dam was raised by 9.75 metres in c.1950 and impounds a reservoir of 63.5 GL. The c.1900 cast iron outlet works and c.1950 mild steel outlet works are still in operation without any significant modification or refurbishment since installation.
Mundaring Weir remains the principal storage for the Goldfields and Agricultural Water Supply (G&AWS). To meet the increasing demand and improve water quality in the G&AWS, the West Australian Water Corporation is upgrading the outlet works, constructing a new pump station and a water treatment plant.
The paper discusses: condition assessments undertaken; basis for refurbishment and the selection and design, including hydraulic modelling, of a staged upgrade of aged outlet structures; and ensuring these works can be undertaken without impacting on supply during the course of the works.
Keywords: Outlet Works, Asset Condition Assessment, Mundaring Weir
Shane McGrath, Andrew Reynolds, Garry Fyfe, Chris Kelly, Steven Fox
Goulburn-Murray Water is a rural water corporation located in Northern Victoria. It has responsibility for 12 State dams and is also the constructing authority for the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s Victorian assets.
Over the past 15 years G-MW has been engaged in a dam improvement program across its portfolio. To date 14 individual projects have been undertaken at 11 dams. The total expenditure is $125 million.
Starting from a base level of data at its inception in 1997, the program has encompassed all facets required for a dam improvement program. From early prioritisation to set the investigation program, through design reviews and risk assessments to develop the upgrading program and subsequent implementation. Some elements of the program were at the leading edge of practice at the time and a range of experiences along the way were character building as dam safety investment challenged other corporate priorities.
This paper sets out the lessons learned in developing the methodology and implementing the program of works, particularly relating to corporate adoption of the program, organisational capability, investigations, risk assessments, design and implementation.
M C N Taylor, Dr H E Cherrill, S F Croft, S F Eldridge
The Stuart Macaskill Lakes are two raw water storage lakes with a combined storage of approximately 3280 ML supplying Wellington City, New Zealand. The lakes are High Potential Impact Category (PIC) earth embankment dams constructed on terrace gravel deposits adjacent to the Hutt River and located within approximately 20 to 50 metres of the Wellington Fault Deformation Zone. Construction of the lakes began in 1982 and they were commissioned in 1985.
In early 2008, the lake’s owner Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), embarked on a programme to supplement Wellington City’s water supply storage. Whilst that study is ongoing, GWRC engaged Tonkin & Taylor (T&T) to investigate the feasibility of increasing the Stuart Macaskill Lakes capacity as an interim measure.
The feasibility study concluded in late 2009 that the lake dam embankments could be raised by up to 1.3 metres in height to gain an approximate additional 450 ML of water storage. An important finding of that feasibility study has been that the seismic requirements have increased significantly since the construction of the lakes. To address this issue GWRC is currently constructing Stage Two of a two stage construction programme to both raise the lakes and to incorporate seismic resistant features into the lakes.
The primary design features are downstream rock buttressing in the critical areas of the lakes and synthetic lining the inside of the lake embankments. The buttressing works were completed in early 2011 and the lining and crest raising works are due for completion in 2013.
This paper summarises the design, laboratory testing and construction to enhance the lakes performance during very strong seismic accelerations (Peak Ground Accelerations of up to 1.08g) expected during a maximum design earthquake originating from the Wellington Fault.
Keywords: Water Reservoir, Seismic Design, Geomembrane, Rock Buttressing, Seismic Risk Assessment, Wellington Fault
Zhenhe Song, Arjuna Dissanayake, Shunqin Luo
One of the potential tailing dam failure modes that is commonly evaluated is for prediction of earthquake induced crest displacement in relation to available freeboard. The prediction of seismic induced displacement for tailing dams can be evaluated using simplified approaches, i.e. analytical methods by Newmark (1965), Makdisi and Seed (1978), Bray and Travasarou (2007) and empirical method by Swaisgood (2003) and Pells and Fell (2003).
Seismic induced displacements have been estimated using these simplified methods and numerical methods by FLAC and PLAXIS. The results from the numerical modelling were compared with results derived from the simpler analytical and empirical methods. The results indicate the numerical analysis results agrees reasonably well with empirical methods by Swaisgood (2003) and Pells and Fell (2003) and can be used to provide additional confidence in the seismic stability of tailings embankments. However, simplified analytical methods by Newmark (1965), Makdisi and Seed (1978), Bray and Travasarou (2007) could underestimate the seismic induced displacements.
Keywords: Tailing dam, Seismic analysis, numerical analysis, simplified analysis, liquefaction.