Since their development, rock mass classification systems have used and manipulated various populations of geomechanical data to allow a rock mass to be divided into different domains or engineering ‘masses’ with the aim of assisting in the geotechnical design of underground openings, excavations, foundations and ground support systems.
Each of these methods consider different characteristics to generate a material classification; including rock strength, joint weathering, defect spacing, in-situ stress and groundwater. However, none of these systems cater for classification of the rock mass based on whole rock weathering, whole rock strength and incipient defect spacing along a borehole.
This new classification system, the Rock Condition Number (RCN), has been developed to reduce the human factor of variability in interpretation when collecting data to classify the rock mass, as other methods, such as Rock Quality Designation (RQD), are prone to significant variability based on the experience of the person logging the core. RQD provides an indication of rock quality over the length of the cored interval, which varies depending on the drilling equipment and ground conditions. This value may typically be calculated over an interval of 1.0, 1.5 or 3.0 metres. The RQD system does not allow for the rapid identification of thin, though important features in the subsurface.
Using data captured electronically in the field, the RCN calculates an instantaneous classification of the rock mass at any point along the borehole, highlighting variations within the rock mass by assessing a combination of characteristics, allowing rapid identification of potential hazardous zones within the rock mass. This allows for significant improvements in efficiency during the assessment and design process/es. Resolution is greatly improved over RQD, with thin, though important, zones of weak material highlighted using this new process.
Comparison between existing classifications and the RCN using real field data indicates the RCN provides greater resolution when identifying deficient zones within the rock mass.
Keywords: Rock mass characterisation, RQD, Rock Condition Number, rock quality, dam foundations.
Michael McKay and Francisco Lopez
Mt Bold Dam impounds the largest reservoir in South Australia. The dam wall comprises 19 concrete monoliths, 11 forming a central arch section and 8 forming gravity sections on the left and right abutments. The upstream face of the arch section is vertical, but the top portion overhangs on the reservoir side. The dam was originally constructed in the 1930s, and was raised by 4.3 m in the 1960s. In this upgrade the gravity abutments were raised using mass concrete blocks and the arch non-overflow crest was raised with hollow, reinforced concrete portals. On the spillway section a pier and gate system was installed on top of a hollow ogee section. The maximum height of the dam in its current configuration is 58 m.
GHD has been conducting a staged safety review of Mt Bold Dam since 2011. This included a detailed finite element nonlinear, time-history seismic analysis of the dam-foundation-reservoir system. The analysis was carried out using finite element techniques and included a detailed 3D model of all major components of the dam and different domains of the foundation rock. The nonlinearity of the model was included by explicitly incorporating contact elements at the dam-foundation interface, at the monolith contraction joints, and at some identified unbonded horizontal concrete lift joints within the dam wall. The seismic analysis was conducted for three different accelerograms corresponding to Maximum Design Earthquakes (MDEs) with 1 in 10,000 Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP).
This paper explains the purpose of the study, the adopted methodology and material properties, the results of the modelling phases, and the anticipated seismic behaviour and damage on the main components of the dam resulting from the MDEs. Finally, a conclusion is made in regards to whether or not Mt Bold Dam passes the adopted performance criteria for seismic loading.
Keywords: Arch, gravity, seismic, nonlinear, damage prediction.
Steven E Pells, Philip J N Pells, William L. Peirson; Kurt Douglas and Robin Fell
The method of Annandale (1995) is widely used by Australian practitioners for the assessment of erosion in unlined spillways. This method is based on comparison to various case studies, where the geology at each site is characterised using the Kirsten index (a rock mass index previously developed to assess the rippability of rock), and the hydraulic conditions are characterised using the unit stream power dissipation. In this paper, the historical development of this comparative design technique is traced and is critically reviewed against the original geotechnical and hydraulic data, and against a new, independent, dataset gained from unlined spillways in fractured rock in Australia, South Africa and the USA. It is shown that, while erosion can be usefully correlated against rock-mass indices and hydraulic indices, this ‘comparative’ design technique has been promoted beyond its reach – the data do not support the inference of an erosion ‘threshold’ as presented by Annandale (1995). It is argued that this type of analysis should be used only as an initial ‘first indication of erosion potential’, as originally proposed by van Schalkwyk (1994b).
Keywords: scour; erosion; spillways.
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.
Aida Baharestani, Dominic Kerr
North East Water (NEW) manages two reservoirs in series on Bakers Gully Creek, approximately 1.5km south of Bright in north-east Victoria. Both dams were constructed more than 100 years ago and taken out of service in the 1970s.
The Bakers Gully dams had an unacceptable risk profile according to ANCOLD’s Limit of Tolerability.
As the dams are out of service and have no operational benefit, NEW made the decision to partially decommission the dams.
The objective of the work was to lower the consequence categories of the dams from “High C” to “Low” and increase the spillway capacities according to ANCOLD Guidelines and ultimately reduce the dam safety risks to an acceptable level.
This paper describes the different stages of the project ranging from concept design, community engagement, environmental assessment and detailed design. In particular the paper explores the complexities of balancing in cost and public safety with community and ecological values.
Keywords: Dam decommissioning, Community engagement, Severity of damage and loss
Simon Lang, Chriselyn Meneses, Kelly Maslin, Mark Arnold
It is now common practice for dam owners in Australia to take a risk based approach to managing the safety of their large dams. Some dam owners are also using risk based approaches to manage other significant assets. For example, Melbourne Water manage the safety of their retarding basins in a manner similar to their water supply dams.
Assessing the risks posed by retarding basins using methods developed for larger dams can raise challenges. For example, the Graham (1999) approach to estimating potential loss of life (PLL) is generally applied when estimating the consequences of dam failure. However, Graham (1999) may not be the most suitable model for estimating PLL downstream of structures with relatively low heights and storage volumes (e.g. retarding basins), given the characteristics of the case histories used to develop the method.
In this paper six potential methods for estimating PLL are tested on four retarding basins in Melbourne. The methods are Graham (1999), the new Reclamation Consequence Estimating Methodology (RCEM), the UK risk assessment for reservoir safety (RARS) method, a spreadsheet application of HEC-FIA 3.0, and empirical methods developed by Jonkman (2007) and Jonkman et al. (2009). Results from the methods are compared, and comment is made about which is most suitable.
Keywords: potential loss of life, dam safety, risk analysis, retarding basins.