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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An analytical approach is presented to calculate the pull-out probability of failure of concrete lining of
plunge pools. The concrete lining is aimed to protect the plunge pool against scour where a scour hole may
endanger the stability of the dam foundation. Uplift and pressure loading of the jet are major actions on
the concrete lining. Ground anchors are used to stabilise the lining against these actions and the governing
mode of failure is the pull-out (tensile failure) of these anchors. While the anchoring design for static uplift
is straightforward, dynamic jet action introduces remarkable complexity into the design. The adopted
methodology is based on a stochastic modelling of the high velocity jet action. A bi-linear power spectral
density function is assumed based on the laboratory measurements on the scale physical models done by
the others. This loading mainly reflects the turbulent pressure fluctuations where the jet impacts the plunge
pool floor. Response of the lining, idealised as a single degree of freedom, is calculated by the random
vibration procedures which provides the most realistic structural analysis methodology. It is assumed the
lining is impervious and hence no dynamic under-pressure is developed. The analysis results provide a
probabilistic description of the anchor tensile force which enables the designer to compute the probability
of failure of the anchors knowing their ultimate strength.
Peter Foster, Bob Wark, David Ryan, John Richardson
Fairbairn Dam is a zoned embankment dam completed in 1972 and located in central Queensland near the town of Emerald. The spillway, which is located toward the left abutment, consists of a 168 metres wide concrete ogee crest, converging concrete chute and dissipater basin. The overall length from the ogee to the downstream end of the concrete spillway is approximately 195 m. The chute and dissipater basin are underlain by a matrix of longitudinal and transverse drains for pressure relief of the anchored concrete slabs.
Minor repairs to damaged chute slabs were undertaken following the 2011 flood event. During these rectification works, large voids up to 0.3 metre in depth were found under sections of the concrete chute slabs as well as damage and blockage to the sub-surface drainage system. Discoloured water was also observed discharging from sections of the sub-surface drainage system. Some of the 24 mm diameter bars designed to anchor the slabs to the foundation were found to have corroded at the concrete/foundation interface and subsequent pull-out tests showed that the anchors had minimal or no structural capacity.
These investigations led to a review of the hydraulic design of the spillway, upgrade to the sub-surface drainage system and apron slabs, and installation of replacement anchor bars. An understanding of the transmission of pressures and dynamic pressure coefficients resulting from spillway discharge and the effects of the hydraulic jump was an essential component of the design for the new anchor and drainage system.
This paper provides detail on the investigations undertaken, the hydraulic modelling that is underway including physical hydraulic and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and the design approach for what is described in this paper as the Stage 1 component of works.
Jamie Cowan, Chris Kelly and Gavan Hunter
Dam safety upgrade works were undertaken at Tullaroop Dam in 2015/16 to reduce the risk of piping through the main embankment. Unexpected cracking and elevated pore water pressures were observed within this earthfill embankment over a period of 10 to 15 years. In 2005/06 a filter and rockfill buttress local to the embankment was constructed on the left abutment after a 60 mm wide diagonal crack opened up on the downstream shoulder from crest to toe.
Similar to the 2005/06 upgrade works, the 2015/16 embankment works were direct managed by Goulburn-Murray Water. Filter and rockfill materials were sourced from commercial quarries previously used for dam upgrade projects and for which significant testing of materials had been undertaken, especially on the fine filter.
Mid project it became clear that the fine filter was breaking down under handling and compaction such that several in-bank gradings fell outside the specified fine limit. Further testing of quarry surge piles, site stockpiles and in-bank placed filters was undertaken to understand the extent of the breakdown. It was assessed that the breakdown was occurring on the 0.5 to 2.0 mm fraction, generating finer sizes in the 0.1 to 0.6 mm fraction. The increase in fines content (minus 75 micron) was less than 1% and met specification. The in-bank material was accepted as placed and the specified filter envelope adjusted to allow for the observed breakdown.
Difficulties were experienced with compaction of the fine filter in the inclined chimney filter to achieve the target density in the range 65% to 80% Density Index when the layer width reduced to 0.75 m for a 0.5 m compacted lift thickness. No difficulties were experienced when the layer width was 1.5 m or in trenches. Further trials were undertaken on the embankment to better understand the compaction issues and used different roller types. It was assessed that an important factor was the arching effect of the adjacent coarse filter. Going forward thinner lifts were used and smaller width rollers to achieve the specified minimum density.
The paper provides details on the embankment construction works, focusing on the fine filter breakdown and compaction issues. Details of the testing undertaken, the actions to resolve the issues and interactions with the supply quarry and construction team are provided.
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.
Sean Ladiges, Robert Wark, Richard Rodd
The use of permanent, load-monitorable post-tensioned, anchors for dam projects has been in place for approximately 35 years in Australia. Since then, over 30 large Australian dams have been strengthened using this technology, including the world record for anchor length (142 m – Canning Dam, WA) and size (91×15.7 mm strands – Wellington Dam, WA and Catugunya Dam, TAS).
In order to achieve the design life of 100 years expected of these anchors, an ongoing program of monitoring, testing and maintenance is required, to identify and rectify the initiation of corrosion or loss of pre-stress. Guidance for maintenance and testing regime for post-tensioned anchors in dams is provided in the ANCOLD Guidelines on Dam Safety Management (2003). The various conditions which may affect the performance of the anchor with time, such as anchor type, ground condition and loading fluctuations are not covered in the Guideline.
This paper reviews the implementation and results of anchor monitoring programs by Australian dam owners. The first part of this paper provides a summary of the testing and monitoring programs currently being implemented. The second part of the paper reviews the aggregated anchor load test results from a number of Australian dam owners, and identifies trends in anchor response over time following installation.
The paper aims to assess whether the recommended anchor testing regime proposed in ANCOLD (2003) is appropriate and cost effective, using evidence from recent load test data which has become available following the writing of the guideline. The lessons learnt from anchor maintenance programs will also be discussed.