Behrooz Ghahreman Nejad
In recent years, dam designers have become increasingly interested in application of the geomembrane sealing systems (GSS) in design of tailings storage facilities around the world. The main reasons for this have been the deformation characteristics, environmental aspects (ie seepage minimisation), speed of construction and constructability of geomembrane liners in most climatic conditions. This paper reports the design and application of two types of geomembrane sealing system in Angas Zinc (AZ) and Sarcheshmeh Copper (SC) tailings dams. The former is a 25m high zoned earthfill embankment with an HDPE liner system, located in an environmentally sensitive site in South Australia. The latter is a 94m high zoned rockfill embankment with a PVC liner system, located in a region of high seismicity in central Iran.
The designs of the AZ and SC geomembrane sealing systems including geomembrane liner, drainage layer, anchoring, leak detection system and drains, and instrumentations are discussed in detail. The performance of the liner systems during operation is also presented.
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Suraj Neupane, Paul Southcott, and Tung Hoang
Conglomerate Dam has multiple cracks along the asbestos cement outlet conduits running through the embankment. The reservoir level has been maintained at 2m below the full supply level to reduce the amount of seepage, emerging on the downstream face, until the conduits are repaired and protect the embankment from slope instability and piping. Several methods were investigated under an options study to determine the most suitable internal lining method. Slip lining with polyethylene pipe was found to be the most suitable method in terms of technology as well as cost.
Kathryn Whalley and Bob Clark
When Seqwater was established in 2008 it inherited from local governments 51 weirs of varying ages, sizes, design standards and condition. In order to better understand these structures, in 2012 Seqwater engaged NSW Public Works to undertake a condition and risk assessment of its weir portfolio. The assessment, consisting of a background review, site inspections, stability assessment and a collaborative risk workshop, examined risks to the structures, to Seqwater personnel and the public. Assessment of the risk consequences used Seqwater’s recent experience with repairs to weirs damaged in the 2011 and 2013 Queensland floods. The assessment was completed in 2013 and identified more than 1000 risks. It was recommended that more than 600 moderate to high risks be reduced through a prioritised program over the next 10 years. Weir performance following the 2011 and 2013 floods is also discussed.
Bronson McPherson, David Guest, Barton Maher, Ian Tanner and Amit Chanan
There is significant community interest in the potential for water supply dams to be adapted for flood mitigation, particularly for major dams located upstream of flood vulnerable populations. There may be a number of large dams which have the potential to provide significant flood mitigation benefits to Australian communities if they can be adapted for flood mitigation functionality. Other dams already provide significant flood mitigation benefits, however their limitations are not properly understood by the general public. Two major dams located near a large urban town centre prone to flooding are examined as a case study and some international cases are presented.
Flood mitigation often has a different funding source to water supply. The funding arrangements for flood mitigation dam works can be complex, considering the potential stakeholders and somewhat intangible benefits. If the community wants to use a water supply dam to provide flood mitigation then who provides the funding for the modification works?
Gavan Hunter, David Jeffery and Chris Kelly
Laanecoorie Reservoir, located in central Victoria, passed 3 significant floods in late 2010 to early 2011; the last flood being the highest on record since 1909. Significant cracking and deformation of this 100 year old puddle core earthfill embankment occurred. A series of longitudinal cracks up to 25 mm in width opened up in the crest over a length of 70 m and crest settlements were up to 70 mm; very large for a dam of this age. A significant difference at Laanecoorie compared to other similar dams is that it experiences high tail water levels during major flooding.
Investigations into the embankment following the January 2011 flood encountered several defects
including a decomposed tree root hole (large void up to 90 mm) that almost fully penetrated the raised section of puddle core, permeable gravel layers within the puddle core and transverse cracks up to 2 mm wide. The encountered defects and performance of the embankment many years after construction highlighted the deterioration that can occur with aging of these older embankments and the issues associated with poor past practices in tree management adjacent to dam embankments.
Dam safety upgrade works were undertaken in 2013 to address the identified piping and stability risks.
The works included construction of a filter buttress, replacement of a length of the raised puddle core and construction of a buried gabion wall on the left abutment to provide protection against scour should the secondary spillway fail or overtop.
GMW implemented a series of actions during the flood events in accordance with the Dam Safety
Emergency Plan (DSEP) to address cracking and deformation. Once aware of the dam safety risks, interim actions were implemented including increased frequency of monitoring, together with set up and measurement of crack pins, and temporary survey markers on the embankment.
This paper outlines lessons learned from 8 years of regular operations and testing of 111 gates at 22 sites. It points out that the implementation challenges involved are not only technological in nature, but also encompass human factor and organizational issues. This is perhaps understandable since the initiative is part of the cultural shift to sustain gate reliability long-term.
An increase in gate testing frequency has led to the identification of more performance anomalies, ranging from deficiencies to operational failures. This finding may not be unique to a single dam owner. It leads to the following question to the general dam owner community: Are we testing our gates enough?