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.
Bruce Brown, Mark Coghill
Tailings management practices have evolved significantly over the last 30 to 40 years with emphasis on long term geotechnical and geochemical stability to meet community expectations and company liabilities. The main drivers have been environmental protection both during operations and post closure, public safety and water conservation. Mining companies have become aware of the significant risks resulting from the operation of tailings facilities with a number of high profile failures occurring in recent times. The common practice of building a containment structure and depositing tailings as unthickened slurry is being challenged and tested against alternative tailings treatment technologies. These include high rate thickening, paste thickening and filtration. The potential benefits of these technologies include significant reduction in process water losses, reduced design duties for the confinement structures and improved conditions for closure. Notwithstanding these potential benefits, very few facilities have implemented the new technologies due to economic constraints imposed by the evaluation methods used by the mining industry. This paper summarises the available tailings treatment technologies and the resulting implications for tailings facility design. It reviews the benefits and critiques the economic evaluation method currently in use and recommends that the industry changes its evaluation methodology to drive future trends.
Tailings Storage, Current and Future Trends
Simon Lang, Chriselyn Meneses, Peter Hill, Kristen Sih
In Australia to date, the empirical method developed by Graham (1999) is the most widely applied approach for estimating loss of life from dambreak flooding. However, as the move to risk-based approaches of dam safety management has gathered momentum internationally, increasingly sophisticated techniques for estimating loss of life have emerged. One of these models is the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) HEC-FIA model. HEC-FIA models the influence of flooding, structure characteristics, and warning and evacuation assumptions on loss of life in a spatially distributed manner. In contrast to Graham (1999), HEC-FIA also allows the user to model the loss of life for both dambreak and natural flooding.
This paper presents the results from the first Australian application of HEC-FIA to two dams in southeast Australia. The application of empirical methods developed by Graham (2004) and Reiter (2001) is also discussed.
Krey Price, Mike Harvey, Bob Mussetter, Stuart Trabant
The California Department of Water Resources, Division of Dam Safety (DWR-DSD), has determined that San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River in Monterey County, California, does not meet seismic safety standards. Several alternatives have been considered to decommission the dam and eliminate the hazard, including thickening of the 25-m-high, concrete arch structure, lowering the dam, and complete removal. At the present time, the upstream reservoir that had an original storage capacity of about 1.8 GL, is essentially filled with sediment. The 29-km reach of the Carmel River between the dam and the Pacific Ocean passes through urbanised areas within the upscale Carmel Valley; flooding and channel stability in these areas are significant concerns. The Carmel River also contains habitat for the endangered steelhead and red-legged frog that could be positively or negatively affected by the decommissioning.
After an extensive series of hydraulic and sediment transport modelling studies, two actions remain under consideration: (1) dam thickening, which will require reconstruction of the existing fish ladder and construction of an adjacent, 3-metre diameter sluice gate to prevent sediment build-up from blocking the ladder outlet, and (2) removal of the dam and rerouting the river into a tributary branch of the reservoir, which would isolate approximately 65 percent of the existing sediment deposits from future river flows and eliminate a significant fish-passage problem. Both options were modelled extensively in hydrologic, hydraulic, and sediment transport applications. Since available models do not adequately represent sediment dynamics at the sluice gate, a special sediment routing model was formulated to evaluate this aspect of Option 1. Option 2 is currently preferred by the resource agencies, since it would optimise endangered species habitat; however, this option would be three to four times more expensive than Option 1, and funding limitations may impact the alternative selection. Evaluation efforts are ongoing, along with approaches to address liability issues associated with the decommissioning actions for the privately owned facility, while optimising the benefits and costs of the selected action.
Modelling Studies to Design and Assess Decommissioning Actions for a Seismically Unsafe, Concrete Arch Dam
G. Hadzilacos, ML. Ng, K. Taske, A. Small and B. Loney
Alteration of flow patterns by constructing a dam may have an irreversible impact on ecosystems depending on the timing, duration and frequency of these flows. As part of an Environmental Impact Study, carried out for a proposed mining operation in Australia that included an earth dam on a pristine ephemeral creek, an appropriate waterway management scheme was proposed that required the establishment of measurable instream flow requirements. This paper describes an environmental flow analysis (EFA) carried out to identify flow regimes that achieve the desired ecological outcomes for the affected waterways. The EFA methodology was based on the range-of-variability approach using a calibrated rainfall-runoff model to form the hydrologic basis. The study established a relationship between flow components and ecological variables based upon which the flow requirements were estimated using a simple methodology.
2011 – A case study of an initial Environmental Flows Assessment for an earth dam on a pristine stream in Cape York