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.
This paper presents the methods used to apply a Flood Operation Simulation Model, and the methods used to present results of thousands of flood simulations in a way that different operational options could be compared. The approach was found to be valuable to understand the capacity of the dams to mitigate floods. The study identified shortcomings for the conventional design event approach to flood estimation. A broader range of stochastic floods was an advantage to assess flood mitigation performance and extreme floods of interest to dam safety.
Shane McGrath, Phillip Cummins, and David Stewart
Dam owners and regulators now commonly use risk assessment techniques to assist with decision making for an individual dam or a portfolio of dams. In many cases risk assessment is used to select an optimal course of action in relation to ongoing safety performance of dams, including the achievement of public safety objectives. However, whilst it is an important tool, the use of risk assessment alone is not sufficient to establish that a dam is “safe”.
In modern organisations, business objectives are achieved through a systematic approach to management which described simply sets out what needs to be achieved, how the required outcomes will be delivered and audits the process and results.
In hazardous industries such as mining, chemical, nuclear and dams, it is necessary to reliably achieve business objectives such as product volumes, unit costs and workplace health and safety alongside public safety objectives. In the dams industry, dam safety management systems are now being implemented to document how the organisation satisfies its corporate and business objectives, governance responsibilities and risk management processes.
It is also common in hazardous industries that a “safety case” is required by regulators to demonstrate that the owner has identified what could go wrong at its facility, what controls are in place and that there is a system in place to ensure that the controls are reliable. Whilst dam owners may rely on a dam safety risk assessment to meet regulatory obligations and demonstrate due diligence, the results of risk assessments are not routinely documented sufficiently to satisfy a “safety case” and therefore will not fully meet the organisation’s requirements.
Many dam owners are also responsible for the safety management of other hazardous facilities, such as urban water and mining corporations which typically manage hazardous chemical installations and hazardous or toxic waste disposal. For such organisations, the corporate awareness and processes should already exist to extend the “safety case” philosophy to the management of their dams.
This paper sets out the importance of a dam “safety case”, the essential elements of a safety case and its relationship to the dam safety management system.
Stephen Newman, Rod Jacobs, and Dr John Yeates
Independence Group (IGO) is assessing the feasibility of re-commissioning a closed copper-zinc mine in Victoria. Due to the acid producing potential of the mine tailings if exposed to oxygen they are to be contained in a saturated condition not only during the life of the mine but well beyond closure and effectively in perpetuity. The tailings are to be stored in a saturated condition underground in the mining void however due to the limited volume available approximately half of the tailings produced over the mine life will require containment in a purpose built surface Tailings Storage Facility that would need to perform as a water retaining structure.
This paper describes key challenges with tailings management including demonstrating the viability of maintaining permanent saturation of the tailings and the long term integrity of the structure. Excessive poor quality seepage, piping and other failure modes have also been considered in the long term design of the closed Tailings Storage Facility. A surveillance program to provide early identification of potential issues has also been developed.
The design is consistent with ANCOLD guidelines and used a risk based approach to assess key issues associated with the extended design life.
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.
George Samios and Steve Gough
Following an extreme flood event late on Friday 22nd February 2013, water overtopped the dam crest leading to total collapse of the dam’s right embankment and a span of the nearby intake tower access bridge as well as the cutting of power to the dam gates. The dam’s left embankment was also severely damaged. Options considered for remediation of the dam include decommissioning or reinstatement and upgrading to NSW Dams Safety Committee requirements.