Przemyslaw A. Zielinski
Three aspects of the current engineering practice in using event trees in dam safety risk analyses are discussed in the paper. These aspects include assignment of probabilities for initiating events, treat-ment of dependencies in the event tree, and dynamic aspects of dam system behaviour and accounting for time. The paper discusses limitations of the methodology and common mistakes in engineering applications of event tree methods when assessing dam safety risks and making safety decisions for specific dams. Of particular importance is the discussion of incorrect interpretation of dependency structure when addressing common cause failure modes.
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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.
William Ziegler and Heather Middleton
This paper presents the collation of over 20 years of data on vertical and horizontal movements around Cataract Dam in the Southern Coalfield of New South Wales, reporting subsidence that continues 25 years after extraction in the area ceased. The occurrence of increased vertical movement over old goaf areas as the result of extraction in the same seam at greater than 1km distance has been observed. Together with a change in the behaviour of measured head of water 6 years after extraction ceased in the area. These points raise the question, how long should subsidence monitoring continue after extraction has ceased in areas of important infrastructure?
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.
Peter Allen and Kevin Bartlett
One of the recommendations of the Queensland Flood Commission of Inquiry was for the introduction of a legislative requirement for all referable dams in Queensland to have Emergency Action Plans (EAPs) formally approved by the Dam Safety Regulator. Prior to this EAPs were required under the dam safety conditions applied to each referable dam and they were not formally approved. This recommendation has now been implemented as a requirement of the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008. This paper summarizes the emergency action planning system now applicable to Queensland’s referable dams and details the actions involved in implementing this system. It involves significant consultation between dam owners and local disaster managers and gives local disaster managers an opportunity to formally comment on EAPs prior to them being submitted for approval. Development of associated regulatory guidelines to cover all aspects of EAPs was done in order to make EAPs more consistent and more readily understood by users and other stakeholders in emergency situations. Once the guidelines had been developed, the Regulator undertook a state-wide series of seminars to raise the level of awareness of local disaster management groups and dam owners of the new requirements. The legislation also requires the publication of the approved EAPs on the department’s website to raise the public’s awareness of the risks involved and improve their responses in advance of emergency events. This represents a challenge from a public relations perspective because people will become more aware of the risks to which they are exposed. The paper summarises the Regulator’s experience in reviewing and considering the EAPs submitted for approval and it indicates some of the benefits and challenges of the ongoing program.
Leonard Wiliem, Rob Keogh, and David Thomas
Progressive rope creep on the steel ropes which hold 14 counterweights in tension on the seven spillway gates was monitored regularly. The 2011 annual inspection identified that the creep had taken the lower guide wheels of the suspended counterweights beyond the extent of the wheel guides.
A programed project to extend the guides was delayed due to Workplace Health and Safety concerns on confined access and working under a suspended load. A study was commissioned to deliver a safe method of extending the guides. Because regular testing and two flood events had proved the gates were functioning well, the risk of failure in gate operation during flood event was considered low and a lower priority was assigned to rectification work.
Callide Dam is a SunWater owned dam located in Central Queensland. It has a similar spillway gate mechanism as Coolmunda Dam. The only difference is that Callide Dam gates work in pairs with one counterweight attached to each gate.
In January 2013 due to heavy rainfall caused by the ex-cyclone Oswald, Callide Dam experienced a flood event which triggered a gate operation. During the draining phase, the gates operated abnormally sustaining damage to the structure and to the automatic gate opening mechanism. SunWater undertook investigations to identify the cause of the abnormal operation and found that the primary cause of the gate abnormal operation was due to jamming of the suspended counterweight on the end of the guides. This was due to cable stretched over 26 years of service to the extent that the lower wheel assembly was beyond the guide rails at the time of the flood event.
The event at Callide Dam was a wake up call for SunWater to re-evaluate the risk assessment for Coolmunda Dam. This re-evaluation recommended to assign the highest priority on the rectification of the wire rope creep issue on the radial gate as the risk of failure in gate operation during flood event was high.
This paper discusses the actions in re-evaluating the risks at SunWater’s Coolmunda Dam and the measures taken to quickly undertake remedial action on both dams and the challenges involved with each.