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.
Monique de Moel, Mark Arnold, Gamini Adikari
Monbulk Saddle Dam, built in 1929, is one of two saddle dams located at the southern end of Silvan Reservoir, near the township of Monbulk, Victoria. The saddle dam is a 5.3m high earthfill embankment with a 230mm wide, centrally located, concrete core wall. The reservoir retained is located in the valley of Stonyford Creek, and impounds approximately 40,500 ML of water at FSL.
Excessive seepage at the right abutment of Monbulk Saddle Dam has been an issue since the early 1970’s. The reservoir has been operating with a level restriction since then to reduce the seepage flows. However; this restriction limits the operational flexibility of the storage. Early investigations concluded that the most likely mechanism for these excessive seepage flows was a defect in the concrete core wall.
Melbourne Water Corporation, (the owner and the operator of the reservoir), undertook a risk assessment for Silvan Reservoir as part of a review of its dams asset portfolio. Based on the information then available, the risk assessment was undertaken using the criteria and guidelines developed by ANCOLD. The result was that the piping risks associated with the seepage from the west abutment at Monbulk Saddle Dam was unacceptable. The risk assessment Panel also cast doubt on the likelihood of the seepage being caused by a defect in the concrete core wall. Melbourne Water therefore engaged SMEC Australia to investigate the likely causes and mechanisms for this seepage and to develop suitable remedial measures for the dam.
The investigations have included a desktop review of historical information, test pit investigations, Sonic borehole drilling, dynamic cone penetration tests, an infrared thermal imaging investigation and an electromagnetic groundwater seepage flow mapping investigation.
These investigations have shown that the most likely cause of the seepage is the presence of permeable foundation layers located beneath and around the existing core wall as the core wall does not extend over the full length of the embankment and becomes shallower towards the abutments.
To satisfy the ALARP principle; risk reduction remedial works Concept Designs are being developed and reviewed.
2011 – Investigating the Piping Risk Associated with Seepage at Monbulk Saddle Dam of Silvan Reservoir, Victoria
Roger Vreugdenhil, Peter Hill, Siraj Perera, Susan Ryan
All Australian water authorities have in place dam safety programs that seek to ensure the ongoing safety and serviceability of their dams along with the benefits they secure for the wider community. Many have progressed multiple dam safety upgrades over the past decade and embraced risk assessment as a helpful tool in prioritising upgrade investment.
The ANCOLD Guidelines on Risk Assessment (2003) have been applied across the country and, coupled with State regulation, have supported dam owner efforts in reducing risks below the ANCOLD “Limit of Tolerability”. However, it is generally acknowledged that in their current form, the ANCOLD guidelines provide limited guidance to dam owners for determining appropriate levels of risk reduction and timing of dam safety improvements. This has contributed to a range of guideline interpretations and inconsistency in subsequent dam safety investment decisions across Australia. Having achieved priority risk reduction, a number of owners are beginning to assess their dams against the ALARP principle, bringing dam safety investment within an owner’s portfolio into more direct competition with other important and urgent organisational investment decisions.
This paper outlines the outcomes of a recent study commissioned by the Victoria Department of Sustainability and Environment into risk reduction principles and the application of ALARP by a number of Australian and international dam owners and regulators, hazardous industry owners and regulators, and the interaction of ALARP with whole-of-organisation investment. The paper highlights the study process and significant points of interest regarding risk reduction principles and current application of ALARP and some options for refinement and clarity.
Towards increased clarity in the application of ALARP
Gregg A Scott
Abstract: The Bureau of Reclamation has been performing quantitative risk analysis as the primary dam safety decision making tool for well over a decade. This paper summarizes some of the key concepts and basic methodology currently used in the dam safety risk analysis process at Reclamation.
Keywords: dam safety, risk analysis, reliability analysis, event trees, subjective probability.
David S Bowles, Sanjay S Chauhan, Loren R Anderson, Terry F Glover
Abstract: A nested model is presented for considering variability and knowledge uncertainty in a dam safety risk assessment of an existing dam and interim risk-reduction alternatives (operating restrictions) during the staged implementation of a permanent structural risk reduction measure. The effects of some important aspects of natural variabilities on estimated risks are represented as cumulative distributions of probability of failure, annualised life loss, economic risk cost, and an F-N representation of life loss. Many cumulative distributions are generated to represent the effects of some important aspects of knowledge uncertainties.
An important aspect of the knowledge uncertainty is the current level of development of an already-initiated piping failure mode. Also, an approach to conditioning the system response probabilities (SRPs) for the piping failure mode on the duration of reservoir pool exceedance is included in the failure event tree risk model.
ANCOLD and Reclamation tolerable risk guidelines are evaluated at selected percentiles of variability and percentiles (levels of confidence) of knowledge uncertainty. The incremental cost-per-statistical-life saved and benefit-cost ratio for interim risk-reduction alternatives are estimated and evaluated to examine the case for more-severe levels of operating restriction than the least-severe operating restriction that is estimated to satisfy, at a selected percentile of variability and a desired level of confidence, the limit values in all of the tolerable risk guidelines that were considered.
Keywords: Dam safety, risk analysis, risk assessment, uncertainty analysis, aleatory uncertainty, epistemic uncertainty.