Peter Simson, Deryk Foster
Fairbairn Dam is an earth and rockfill embankment dam with an ungated, concrete-lined, spillway, located at AMTD 685.6 km on the Nogoa River, approximately 16 km south of Emerald in Central Queensland.
Following the flood of record in 2011 it was decided to repair a number of areas of spalling concrete which uncovered a collapsed transverse drain and a large void beneath the chute floor. The spillway chute is designed with subsurface drainage system of floor slabs consisting of alternate strips of concrete footing and gravel bed to aid in the control of uplift. The gravel was flushed from under the spillway floor into collapsed earthenware pipes of the drainage system resulting in an unsupported floor slab. Further investigation was carried out using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) which identified additional locations of possible voids. Concrete coring was carried out at selected locations to confirm the voids with some being over 250 mm in depth.
Investigation of the sub-surface drains was carried out using CCTV and showed many of the open jointed earthenware collector pipes had cracked and/or collapsed causing the drainage gravel and founding sedimentary rock to be scoured out by spillway flows entering the system through open contraction joints.
Following the discovery of the foundation scouring it was decided to expose a number of anchor bars in the chute floor to undertake a pull-out testing program. Of the ten anchor bars that were exposed, six were found to have corroded completely with the remaining four noted to be partially corroded and subsequently failed under loading.
A geotechnical investigation of the foundation materials was planned to determine the condition and strength of the founding sedimentary rock. In addition, the investigation also included sampling of seepage and reservoir waters to characterise the hydro-geochemistry and its contribution to the deterioration of the anchors.
Artesian conditions also occur within the spillway area, driven by the reservoir, with water passing through an extensive network of pervasive defects in addition to permeable flat-lying strata.
Coal seam gas is also known to occur, providing a further contribution to aggressive water geochemistry.
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Michael F. Rogers, Gerard (Jerry) E. Reed III, and Glenn S. Tarbox
The San Diego County Water Authority (Water Authority) recently completed the San Vicente Dam Raise Project (SVDR) to increase local water storage capacity in San Diego County, California as the final phase of the $1.5 billion Emergency & Carryover Storage Project (E&CSP). The E&CSP was developed by the Water Authority to protect the San Diego region from disastrous disruptions to the imported water delivery system due to catastrophic events (e.g. earthquake, structural failure, extended drought, etc.) and to address climate change conditions by increasing the amount of water stored locally in the San Diego region. The E&CSP also provides new features for the legacy Water Authority system delivery to provide a more flexible conveyance system.
Robert Shelton, Jako Abrie, Matt Wansbone
The Mahinerangi dam – arguably the most valuable in Trustpower’s portfolio of 47 large dams – is over 80 years old and needs a plan of work to confirm it meets current design standards.
The dam was completed in 1931, subsequently raised in 1944-1946, and strengthened with steel tendon anchors in 1961.
A comprehensive safety review (CSR) in 2007 noted a potential deficiency in the fully grouted anchors and a program of work commenced to re-evaluate the overall stability of the dam.
A potential failure mode assessment revealed that the dam may need upgrading to meet the criteria for maximum design earthquake (MDE). Areas of uncertainty were identified and a significant programme of survey, geological mapping, concrete testing and site specific seismic assessments have been carried out to reduce risk and uncertainty in design.
The paper discusses the dam’s history, current condition, and describes the ongoing programme of work planned to extend the life of the dam for another 80+ years.
Ryan Singh, Bob Wark
For existing dams built before modern theories and understanding of soil mechanics were fully developed, it was often the case that comprehensive investigations into the properties of the embankment and foundation material were not carried out. With more stringent dam safety requirements and engineering criteria, and a better understanding of soil mechanics, it is necessary to undertake embankment and foundation investigations on such dams, with the view to gain a better understanding of the embankment and foundation conditions.
This paper details the method used for a risk-based assessment of a dam’s stability against slope failure for steady-state seepage conditions, based on a probabilistic assessment of differing interpretations of the material properties for the foundation. To achieve this, several separate interpretations of material strength models were developed for a foundation, using various subsets of available tri-axial data. The mean strengths of these models were used to assess the stability, and to account for the variation in strength properties of each model, the sampling distribution of the mean was used to assess the likelihood of failure.
Finally, an event-tree type risk analysis was used to calculate a value for the probability of slope failure.
A case study has been presented using this method.
This paper reviews methods used to estimate the MCE in Australia and New Zealand. In the ICOLD (2016), NZSOLD (2015) and proposed ANCOLD (2016) guidelines, the deterministic approach is applicable only to fault sources, whereas the probabilistic approach is applicable to both fault sources and distributed earthquake sources. Although ICOLD (2016) states that the use of a deterministic approach to develop the SEE “may be more appropriate in locations with relatively frequent earthquakes that occur on well- identified sources, for example near plate boundaries,” the proposed ANCOLD (2016) guidelines retain the use of the deterministic approach for critical active faults which show evidence of movements in Holocene time (i.e. in the last 11,000 years), or large faults which show evidence of movements in Latest Pleistocene time (i.e. between 11,000 and 35,000 years ago). In Australia, active faults make a significant contribution to the probabilistic MCE only at near-fault sites, and even in those cases most of the hazard comes from distributed earthquake sources. However, some sites may be close enough to nearby or even more distant identified active faults that a Deterministic Seismic Hazard Analysis (DSHA) produces MCE ground motions that are far larger than those obtained probabilistically even for very long return periods. Conversely, the deterministically defined MCE may be lower than the probabilistically defined MCE for very long return periods at near fault sites in New Zealand, requiring the probabilistic approach.
Extending the useful life of a dam to an extent well beyond what was envisaged by the original designer poses diverse challenges. In this paper, three case studies are described, one involving strengthening of two similar dams and two cases involving raising. In all three cases, the dams continue to provide a reliable source of supply in a water scarce country.
The Woodhead and Hely-Hutchinson Dams have substantial historical significance which guided the selection of restressable post-tensioned anchors as the preferred method of strengthening.
The Stettynskloof Dam was almost doubled in height by constructing a clay core rockfill embankment abutting the downstream face of the existing concrete gravity dam. The new structure was well instrumented to cover areas of concern but the dam was found to perform as largely predicted by the designers.
Keerom Dam faced both technical and regulatory challenges that were eventually overcome and the raising of the dam was able to proceed. A further raising will increase the utilisation of this valuable resource still further.