Gavan Hunter, Robin Fell, Chris Topham
Backward erosion piping is a failure mode that can affect water retaining structures with earthen cores of very low or no plasticity. Backward erosion involves the progressive detachment of soil particles as seepage through a core material exits to a free surface or unfiltered zone. In contrast to other piping failure mechanisms, backward erosion does not require a defect to be present for initiation, and is heavily influenced by the inherent characteristics of the core materials and the available hydraulic head. For dams with non-plastic or very low plasticity core materials, backward erosion can be a material contributor to the overall piping risk and warrants careful consideration during quantitative risk assessments of such dams. However, there is very little published literature for evaluating the potential for backward erosion piping, particularly in broadly graded soils. This paper concerns one such dam where backward erosion of the glacial till core needed to be assessed in the context of a detailed risk assessment for the facility. The backward erosion mechanism was tested in laboratory tests set up to model the situation in the core of the dam at a range of hydraulic heads. The paper describes the core material and objectives for the testing, presents the apparatus used, summarises the findings, and explains how they contributed to the risk assessment for the dam. Recommendations are also made for future similar testing and research needs.
Keywords: Backward erosion, piping, embankment dam, laboratory testing, quantitative risk assessment, glacial till.
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Robert Wark, R.N.M. Nixon
Sediment inflows to Lake Argyle, the reservoir formed by the construction of the Ord River Dam, were seen as a significant threat to the Ord Irrigation Project when the scheme was being developed through the 1960s. Sediment monitoring was built into the operation of Lake Argyle when the Ord River Dam was completed in 1971. The paper describes the strategies that have been in place to assess sediment loads and monitor sediment build up in the reservoir.
Spectacular reduction in sediment flows has been achieved through developing a comprehensive catchment management program. The program commenced in the early 1960s and was adapted and modified as progress was made. The paper describes the steps taken to identify the areas of the catchment at risk, the measures implemented and the current status of the catchment.
A key feature of the catchment management program has been the willingness to critically review progress and adapt the program. A variety of sediment tracing techniques have been used to help confirm the sources of sediment in the catchment, and the paper describes these, and the broad range of results and how they have helped direct the work on catchment management.
Keywords: Sediment, monitoring, catchment management, Lake Argyle, Ord River
Tim Griggs and Richard Herweynen
The river diversion is an important aspect to be considered in the design of a dam. It generally consists of an upstream cofferdam, river diversion conduit and downstream cofferdam and allows the dam to be constructed in a dry section of river.
This paper reviews the diversion design adopted at three recent Australian roller compacted concrete (RCC) dams and comments on the effectiveness of the design in providing risk mitigation during the construction of each of these dams. The dams considered are Paradise Dam (2005), Meander Dam (2007) and Wyaralong Dam (2011).
Rather than selecting an arbitrary design flood for the diversion, a risk-based assessment was used that generally resulted in a relatively low design capacity. Even though there were cases where the diversion capacity was exceeded, it is considered that the risk based design process provided an economical diversion design for these recent Australian dams.
Keywords: Diversion, roller compacted concrete dam, RCC.
David Hilyard, William Ziegler, Heather Middleton
New South Wales has a significant number of dams, including major water supply dams, located over or near mines. Mining near dams imposes dam safety risks including: mine subsidence, mine blast vibration, presence of mine personnel downstream, rapid changes in consequence during mining, and loss of stored waters. The NSW Dams Safety Committee(DSC) regulates mining near dams, using risk assessment to review applications to mine near dams. A structured approach allows rational, evidence-based decision making by stepping through a procedure involving: initial consultations, screening risk assessment, evaluation of technical arguments, risk assessment, and development of risk management strategies. The risk assessment for dam walls develops acceptance criteria, reviews 19 possible risks to dam walls, and site-specific hazards. For potential for loss of stored waters, four possible groups of flow paths from storage to underground mine are reviewed; flows are evaluated with Monte Carlo simulation in terms of tolerable loss. Risks are assessed from a dam engineering viewpoint, which may be more conservative than the perception of risk in the mining industry, considering both tolerable risks and operational time frames. Case studies include: a tailings dam 100 m upstream of an active open cut and underground portal was undermined by longwall mining, with about 1.5 m subsidence of parts of the embankment as each of four longwall panels was extracted; longwall mining beneath a major Sydney water reservoir, with no observed impact on the stored waters; and open cut mining immediately downstream of a mine water dam. Risk-based methodology has provided the DSC with increased confidence in reviewing applications to mine near dams.
Keywords: Mining, dams, risk assessment, New South Wales, Dam Safety Committee
Kelly Maslin, Mark Foster, Len McDonald
A key requirement of assessing the tolerability of dam safety risks is the assessment of individual risk. The ANCOLD Guidelines on Risk Assessment provides guidance on acceptable levels of individual risk and some general guidance on the calculation of individual risk.
Individual risk is a key measure in the consideration of the tolerability of risk, ALARP and development of risk mitigation works. It is essential that there is consistency in the approach to estimating individual risk used across the dams industry.
This paper reviews the approaches taken to estimating individual risk across the dams industry both locally and internationally as well as the experience of other industries.
The paper includes a review of the various methods for estimating the vulnerability of individuals subjected to flood inundation based on historical fatality rates as well as identification of the individual most at risk
The paper then describes a method that has been developed based on the principles used for assessing individual risk due to other hazards, such as landslides. The method includes consideration of a range of factors such as warning time, temporal variation and vulnerability of the individuals most at risk. The method developed provides a transparent, defensible and pragmatic approach to estimating individual risk. Practical guidance and examples are also provided on the application of the method.
Keywords: individual, risk, exposure, fatality
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.