Dr. Mark Locke, Jiri Herza
Gördes Dam is a nickel and cobalt mine tailings dam situated in a seismically active zone in Manisa Province, Western Turkey. The dam is a conventional cross valley earthfill structure with a fully lined storage basin. The starter embankment with a maximum height of 50 m will be raised in downstream lifts to an ultimate height of 90 m. The total storage capacity is 19 million m3. Construction of the starter embankment is planned to commence in late 2012 and the dam will be commissioned in June 2013.
The tailings will be discharged from the dam crest and return water will be collected by a floating decant pump at the opposite site of the storage. Decant water has high calcium sulphate levels and will require treatment before re-use in the plant or release. The tailings contain about 33 % of solids and are classified as high plasticity silts and clays with more than 90 % of particles passing the 0.075 mm sieve.
The dam is founded on a complex formation of altered sedimentary and metamorphic rocks including mudstones, siltstones, limestones and serpentines. The mudstone blocks, the predominant foundation materials, are juxtaposed with siltstones and serpentines via a complex arrangement of faults. Where exposed, the mudstones are highly to completely weathered with a well-developed structure of smooth bedding surfaces leading to anisotropic strength characteristics. Several landslides, likely associated with the anisotropic character of the mudstones, were identified within the area including a significant landslide under the upstream shoulder of the dam.
Mining development in Turkey has a complex legislative environment. There is also standard practice which is not legislated but expected, this can be considerably different to normal design practice in Australia. The Turkish legislation is based on waste management guidelines and may be more appropriate to landfills than large tailings storages. The legislation is very prescriptive in some aspects and silent in others, with little consideration of risk or consequence based design.
This paper discusses the design difficulties associated with the challenging foundation conditions, which have been magnified by the requirements and limitations embedded in the approval documentation and the legislative environment in Turkey. It will also address some of the key differences between the design philosophy in Australia and in Turkey with a focus on the major risk elements of the design.
Keywords: Tailings, Turkey, Liner, HDPE, Nickel laterite
Graeme Mann, Michael Smith, Louise Thomas
Regular flooding around the coastal town of Busselton, south of Perth, led to the construction of large rural drains in the 1920s to divert two of the major rivers around the town. Hydrologic studies after major floods in 1997 and 1999 showed that the existing drains were providing much less than the desired 1 in 100 AEP flood protection, particularly as subdivisions were being developed along both sides of the Vasse River Diversion Drain (VDD).
Three compensating basins constructed in rural land south of Busselton provide a total storage capacity of 4.4 GL. The banks that form the three basins have a total length of 8.5 km, vary in height up to 6 m and are either zoned earthfill embankments, with a clay foundation cut-off through sandy soil horizons to a depth of 1 to 2 m below ground level or homogeneous earthfill embankments. The spillways are overflow sections on the embankments using concrete revetment mattresses. The outlet works are uncontrolled box culverts with a capacity of up to 14 m3/s. Peak outflows are typically about 30% of peak inflows to the basins.
The paper discusses the Busselton Flood Protection Project and associated diversion drains, including the design of long embankments for the compensating basins on very flat terrain that are required to survive their “first filling period” during each flood emergency.
Keywords: Earth embankments, flood mitigation, flood compensating basins, levee banks, diversion drains, Busselton, piping failures.
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.
M. Tooley, D. D’Angelo, B. Priggen, K. Sih, N. Vitharana, R. Mouveri
As the urban sprawl of residential and commercial businesses expand to meet rising population, consideration must be given to the frequency and intensity of storm events and changes in tidal levels, to mitigate the risk of flooding and damage associated with the failure of hydraulic structures.
This paper outlines the design method undertaken to ensure the ageing structure (founded on timber piles) meets modern dam safety criteria, extends the life of the 8 gates operating mechanisms and provides overall inherent reliability for the whole structure. The design method included updated hydrological assessment of the upstream catchment, geotechnical investigation, liquefaction review, consequence category and AFC assessment, hydraulic assessment and stability analysis.
These assessments are being undertaken to introduce inherent reliability in their operation in particular during king tide or storm water events, or a combination of the both, minimising leakage and breakdowns and ensuring the risks of flooding to low lying residential areas upstream of the structure and major airport are minimised. The Glenelg Gates structure is an integral part of a larger regulating system for the catchment.
The findings of the design upgrade would be useful to dam designers and owners faced with the upgrading of gated structures with flooding risks in residential areas.
Keywords: Gated Glenelg Gates structures, upgrade, dam design guidelines.
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
Richard R. Davidson, Nate Snorteland , Doug Boyer, John France
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has embarked upon a monumental journey in applying risk-informed decision making in the management of the safety of the 650 major dams for which it is responsible. This process has shifted safety criteria from fully deterministic to a probabilistic basis. There has also been a shift from de-centralized district-based decision-making to centralized management of resources through the new Risk Management Center (RMC) and the Senior Oversight Group (SOG), a group of senior engineers and managers from across the USACE organization. The risk process began about five years ago with a portfolio prioritisation using screening-level risk assessments of the entire dam inventory, culminating in Dam Safety Action Classifications (DSAC) for each of the dams. Based on this risk prioritisation, Issue Evaluation Studies (IES) were initiated for the highest risk DSAC I and II dams, with each study including detailed failure mode and risk analyses for each dam. Because the Corps was relatively new to dam safety risk analyses, and their dam design history was one of following codified manuals of practice, various risk tools were prepared to provide guidance when assessing the risk of potential static, seismic and flood failure modes, as well as life loss and economic consequences of dam failure. Although these tools provided useful guidance to a relative large population of inexperienced risk estimators, many of these early risk assessments were flawed; they provided unrealistically high estimates of failure probabilities and the tools did not help estimators understand or explain each failure mode. To assist the RMC in bringing more defensible risk estimates to the table and improve consistency of the evaluations, the Quality Control and Consistency (QCC) review process was initiated about two years ago. The QCC process provides high level review of IES activities, including detailed reviews of risk analyses, by a small group of experienced dam safety risk estimators. Not only has this brought risk estimates into a more reasonable range, it has provided valuable training for risk estimators, and important checks and balances on the risk-informed decision making process for moving dam safety upgrade projects forward. The justification for a number of very expensive projects has been challenged and, in some cases, re-prioritised, and other projects have risen to the prominence they deserve.