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?
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Andrew Richardson, Stephen Farrelly and Phil Farnik
In 2012 an update to the Portfolio Risk Analysis (PRA) was undertaken by State Water Corporation for its 18 major dams in New South Wales. The updated portfolio level risk analysis of all the dams has taken account of the completion of major components of the 2006 dam safety upgrade program, while also incorporating continued engineering research into dam safety performance. This paper will provide an overview of the approach, the challenges faced in the process and it will highlight the innovative advances made representing industry best practice. Some future implications and directions will also be discussed.
The three main components of the PRA update in 2012 have included a significant amount of dam break hydraulic modelling including revised hydrology and flood inundation mapping delivered in-house by State Water with consultant support. The Consequence Assessment was developed with a spatial link to natural flooding and dam failure consequences by Sinclair Knight Mertz (SKM), while the third element in producing the event trees, risk analysis and PRA reports was undertaken by consultants GHD. Peer review of the PRA process and reports and additional technical review of the failure modes and event trees by a panel of industry experts provided the necessary independent input and oversight required by the NSW Dams Safety Committee.
State Water’s PRA update builds on the large body of work undertaken for and since the last PRA in 2002. The update process has applied a systematic and quantitative approach across the Portfolio that provides a robust basis for managing dam safety risk. The results of the PRA have identified further work required to investigate and assess the need for dam safety upgrade options for non-compliant dams. State Water’s investment in the PRA has produced a risk-based position on each dam in the portfolio that can be used to identify a range of measures in a revised dam safety upgrade program for the future.
Marius Jonker and Dr Radin Espandar
This paper provides a summary of the current state of practice for arch dam design criteria that have been adopted by some international dam organizations, and where relevant, compares that with the criteria provided in the updated ANCOLD Guidelines on Design Criteria for Concrete Gravity Dams, with the view to provide a basis for consistent and unified design criteria for arch dams in Australia.
The paper draws on the authors’ experience with arch dams, including recent experience with a number of arch dam safety reviews in Australia, their past experience with arch dams over 200 m height, as well as their involvement with the development of the mentioned updated ANCOLD Guidelines.
Since the last arch dam was constructed in Australia, a number of international publications have been released on arch dam design practices, providing general information and guidance for the design of new dams and evaluation of the safety and structural integrity of existing arch dams. This paper compares these publications and proposes criteria that are aligned with the ANCOLD gravity dam guidelines.
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.
S. Suter, G. Singh, and M. Britton
Today, many organisations rely on hydrodynamic modelling to assess the consequences of dam break failure on downstream populations and infrastructure. The availability of finite volume shock-capturing schemes and flexible mesh schematisations in widely used software platforms imply that dam break modelling projects will be carried out differently in the future: Finite volume based platforms allow widespread application of shock-capturing methods and flexible mesh platforms can represent features in the study area more realistically and are more flexible thanks to varying mesh resolutions. Furthermore, the recent adoption of Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) technology in mainstream scientific and engineering computing will also significantly decrease computation times at relatively low cost.
This paper examines the application of finite volume, flexible mesh and GPU technologies to dam break modelling. One-dimensional (1D) modelling results are compared to those from two-dimensional (2D) finite difference and finite volume approaches. The results demonstrate that there are differences between modelling approaches and that the computational speeds of 2D simulations can be significantly reduced by the use of GPU processors.
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.