David Brett, Robert Longey, Jiri Herza
The independent expert review panel for the Mount Polley Tailings Storage Facility failure came out strongly recommending changes to the technology of tailings dams in British Columbia (and by inference, world-wide). The Panel had examined the historical risk profile of tailings dams in British Columbia and recommended, amongst other things, that best available technology (BAT) be adopted for tailings disposal. Examples of BAT, described by the panel, included “dry-stacking” of filtered, unsaturated, compacted tailings and reduction in the use of water covers in a closure setting. The recommended technologies would require a major shift in current practice and raises many questions, such as:
– Are these recommendations appropriate in Australia?
– Does this signal the end of the tailings dams as we know them?
– Do the current Australian National Committee on Large Dams Guidelines (ANCOLD) apply to these new BAT technologies?
– If not, is there a role for ANCOLD in setting standards for the future?
This paper discusses the Mt Polley tailings dam failure and searches for answers to these questions. In particular, this paper reviews the background to “dry-stacking’, to explore the implications for the Australian mining industry.
Keywords: Tailings Dam, Dry Stacking, Best Available Technology
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Richard Herweynen, Tim Griggs, Alan White
The Ministry of Public Utilities, Sarawak, Malaysia used an independent dam safety consultant to advise them on whether the Murum Dam was ready for impoundment. They were looking for a holistic assessment of the dam from a dam safety perspective. As a result, a risk framework was adopted to identify the key issues that needed to be addressed prior to impoundment of the Murum Dam. The process adopted which is presented in this paper, was transparent and defensible; and provided a reasoned approach for which items must be completed prior to the commencement of impoundment. As a result effort was focused on the key activities required prior to impoundment – whether this was the completion of specific works, the availability of key instrumentation to monitor the dams performance, the availability and operation of key dam safety systems, or the appropriate emergency preparedness should a dam safety incident occur during first filling. This systematic process based on a risk based approach, was a useful method of determining the dam’s readiness for impoundment, and provided an excellent way of communicating the importance of activities to the key stakeholders. The authors believe that this method is transferable to other dam projects, for an assessment of a dam’s readiness for impoundment.
Keywords: Dam safety, risk, impoundment, reservoir filling.
Mark Arnold, Chris Topham, Phil Cummins
A central tenet of the ANCOLD Guidelines on Dam Safety Management (2003) is that the higher the consequence of failure of a dam, the more stringent the surveillance scope, frequency, and safety criteria that should be applied to that dam. This concept has generally served the industry well to date in assisting regulators and dam owners to focus on the dams that could have the highest impacts if they failed. ANCOLD 2003 does also suggest that risk may be taken into consideration, however it is the experience of the authors that for dam surveillance and monitoring programmes, the majority of owners and consultants are reluctant to stray too far from the tables provided in the Guideline. However, two owners have recently embarked on a formal process to apply a risk based approach to the specification of surveillance and monitoring for their dams. This paper outlines how sub-optimal outcomes that can arise when the guideline tables are applied exclusively, presents the process undertaken by two owners of large portfolios of high consequence dams, and demonstrates the benefits achieved when a risk based approach is used. The paper concludes that any update or rewrite of the 2003 Dam Safety Management Guidelines should promote a risk based, rather than a consequence based approach to surveillance and monitoring.
Keywords: Risk, risk-based surveillance programme, instrumentation, monitoring.
Sarah McComber, Peyman Bozorgmehr
Boondooma Dam is a concrete-faced rockfill dam with an unlined, uncontrolled spillway chute. Construction was scheduled for completion in 1983; however a spill event occurred during the last stage.of construction Following this spill event an Erosion Control Structure (ECS) was built across the spillway chute to help mitigate any future scouring.
The spillway performed as expected during minor spill events in the 1990s and early 2000s. During the significant rainfall event of 2010/11, significant scour occurred to the spillway chute and downstream of the ECS, as a result of the spillway operation.
Following the 2010/11 flood, emergency repairs were made and long term repair solutions were investigated. However, during Tropical Cyclone Oswald in January 2013, the dam experienced the flood of record, and further scour occurred in the spillway chute.
The long term repair solution was reviewed in light of the 2013 damage. A solution is required that would satisfy the engineering problem and prevent further damage, while satisfying the commercial considerations faced by dam owners, insurers, customers and downstream stakeholders.
Keywords: Boondooma Dam, flood damage, scour damage, commercial engineering solutions.
Bronson L McPherson, Eric J Lesleighter, David C Scriven, Erik F R Bollaert
A number of medium to major floods in Queensland caused substantial scour around spillway structures. This included the Paradise Dam primary spillway which experienced significant scour of the rock body below the spillway during flooding in January 2013. The occurrence has led to a series of evaluations of the geology, and the prevailing hydraulics behaviour as part of a process to determine the scour mechanism, and to determine the response of the spillway and areas downstream to future floods of larger magnitude. Part of the process has been to utilise a large-scale physical model to obtain transient data which together with the detailed geologic assessment would be incorporated into the comprehensive scour modelling procedures developed by Dr Erik Bollaert, AquaVision Engineering, Switzerland.
The paper will describe the design and construction of the physical model with special features to obtain pressure transients from more than 60 transducers, and velocity transients in more than 40 locations using Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter (ADV) instrumentation. The features of the rock scour will be discussed and the geology of the area below the spillway apron will be described. The range of discharges, and the model’s results including the pressure and velocity characteristics will be described in detail to illustrate the violent nature of the turbulence in the energy dissipation zone. The paper will go on to describe the computational scour modelling procedures of calibration and application, demonstrating a “system” approach to spillway scour analysis for plunge pools and similar situations with energy dissipation on natural materials.
Keywords: Spillways, flood hydraulics, hydraulic modelling, rock scour, transients, numerical analysis, energy dissipation.
Chahnimeh reservoirs with 1.4 billion cubic metres storage capacity have a critical role in water supply for both drinking water and agricultural purposes for the whole Sistan region in eastern Iran. Sistan river used to be the only source for agricultural purposes, so that several gated diversion weirs were constructed on the river in the past 50 years. Because of climate change and upstream development causing flow fluctuations, the river alone is no longer a reliable source for irrigation purposes. So the idea of storing water in Chahnimeh reservoirs and optimised operation of reservoirs have become a necessity. In order to achieve this, development of structures to have efficient operational plan of the river and reservoirs system is underway.
Several projects have been built for more efficient use of the reservoirs, some projects still being designed. One of the latest is the project of “Development of Operational Infrastructures for Chahnimeh Reservoirs” designing a structure to regulate flow between Chahnimeh I and III reservoirs. This kind of structure operating between two connecting reservoirs is so rare, so that innovation is needed to design a cost effective structure covering different operational conditions. Different structures were investigated and the summary of selection of structure types are presented. The paper illustrates challenging design of the project, useful for engineers who might be or will be dealing with such a project. By designing gates with pre-compressed rubber sealing, huge amount of costs associated with having two different gates for different directions of flow are avoided. Because of saturated foundation, by designing a diversion system between two reservoirs, it is possible to undertake pre-consolidation of foundation soil and to drain saturated foundation water. This would reduce settlement of the foundation of the structure after construction to the extent that by construction of a pile group, the gated structure will perform with high reliability for gates function. This type of structure is so rare and the methods and experiences of the presented design can be used by other engineers and consultants in similar projects. The estimated cost of the project is 15 million dollars and with construction under way, completion is expected in 2017.
Keywords: regulating structure, gates, reservoirs, reservoir operation