Shane McGrath, Stuart Richardson, Mark Arnold
Melbourne Water Corporation has recently completed a complex safety upgrade of Greenvale, an extreme consequence category dam. An assessment concluded that the residual risks were As Low as Reasonably Practicable (ALARP). However, given the uncertainty associated with the calculations the estimated residual societal risk was not comfortably below the limit of tolerability. Melbourne Water has experience with preparing hazardous industry safety cases for its water treatment chemical storages and decided to trial the methodology for Greenvale Dam. This paper describes the approach taken in hazardous industries to construct safety cases and how his was adapted to demonstrate that dam safety risks are ALARP.
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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.
David Laan, Kim Matsen
A slip on the upstream face of Hedges Dam was observed during an annual site inspection in late March 2016. At that stage the slip appeared to be largely contained within the right hand third of the embankment.
By early April, the slip area had developed into a head scarp across the entire central portion of the embankment. Multiple other head scarps were observed, indicating multiple or segmented slips. Several tension cracks were also visible on the face of the dam. The toe of the slips was indicated by a poorly defined bulge.
The most recent drawdown of the reservoir level was identified as a potential driver for the initiation of the slip failure. During the most recent drawdown the maximum drawdown rate was approximately 0.6 m/day whereas in the previous 17 years the maximum drawdown rate was approximately 0.2 m/day.
The remedial works proposed are to place a rockfill weighting zone on the upstream face to stabilise the embankment. The strength of the materials along the sheared surface was back calculated from the mechanics of the failure surface. This data was then used to calculate the shape of the weighting zone required to stabilise the slope.
Mark Arnold, Gavan Hunter and Mark Foster
Following the dam safety risk assessment for Greenvale Dam in 2008, Melbourne Water implemented a 3.0 m reservoir level restriction on the operation of the storage as an interim risk reduction measure. The 3.0 m restriction coincided with the ‘as constructed’ top of the chimney filter in the main embankment. This interim action reduced the dam safety risk to below the ANCOLD limit of tolerability.
Dam safety upgrade works were undertaken in 2014/15 to bring the dam in-line with current risk based guidelines and to enable the removal of the interim reservoir restriction, bringing the storage back to full operating capacity. Greenvale Dam was required to remain operational throughout the works and this required careful consideration of the dam safety risk during construction.
Deep excavations were required within the crest and downstream shoulder of the embankments, that,, without adequate management, had the potential to increase risk to the downstream population. Excavations up to 18 m depth were required into the wing embankments for construction of full height filters from foundation to crest, excavations up to 7 m deep were required in the main embankment to expose and connect into the existing filters and secant filter piles up to 13 m deep were used to connect the new chimney filter of the wing embankments with the original chimney filter of the main embankment.
A key element of the design and construction of the upgrade works was managing dam safety during construction. Dam safety considerations included (i) design based decisions to manage the level of exposure; (ii) implementation of further restrictions on reservoir level by the owner Melbourne Water; (iii) construction methods to manage exposure; (iv) an elevated surveillance regime during the works and (v) emergency preparation measures including emergency stockpiles and 24 hour emergency standby crew. The construction based dam safety requirements were focused on early detection and early intervention, and were managed via the project specific Dam Safety Management Plan.
This paper focuses on dam safety management including the decisions made, actions taken and construction requirements and touches on how these relate to the key project features.
Chriselyn Kavanagh, David Stephens, Peter Hill
Two-dimensional hydraulic models are now widely used to simulate flooding downstream of dams as part of dambreak assessment studies. These models provide high resolution information on velocity distribution across the floodplain, which is of paramount importance to accurate estimation of the depth-velocity product required when undertaking loss of life assessments. In addition, the outputs from these models are much more readily presented as maps and animations, which can be an important tool in the dam safety emergency planning process.
Recently, the United States Army Corps of Engineers released a new version of the popular hydraulic model HEC-RAS which includes the ability to conduct two-dimensional simulations. Other widely used two-dimensional models include DHI’s MIKE suite and TUFLOW. This paper presents a review of the capability, functionality and useability of these models for the specific purpose of dambreak modelling. Key features considered as part of the review include model stability, run times, methods of simulating dam breaches, outputs and the ability to link to loss of life simulation models. A case study comparing the performance of three commonly applied models is presented and discussed, and advice is provided on model selection.
Matthew Ind, Kate Brand and Mark Ferrier
The framework for undertaking a dam breach analysis for water dams is reasonably well established with a depth of information and software available to guide practitioners on a consistent approach to undertaking failure impact assessments. In contrast, dam breach modelling for tailings dams is currently a developing field with a wide range of modelling approaches taken and an inconsistency in the quality of the failure impact assessments undertaken. Recent tailings dam failures at the Mt Polley Mine in British Columbia, Canada and the Fundäo and Santarém dams at the Samarco iron ore operation in Minas Gerais, Brazil have provided a sobering reminder of the hazards presented by tailings dams and the clean-up challenges that are significantly more complex than a similar failure of a water dam.
Current guidelines and approaches to dam breach modelling are often done assuming the run-out material from the breach is just water without due consideration of the impact from tailings loss. There is limited analysis undertaken on credible failure modes of tailings dams with an assumption that the embankment just “breaks” at some random point without appreciation of the failure mechanism. The misunderstanding of failure modes leads onto inconsistencies with application on whether a ‘sunny-day’ or extreme flood event modelling should be applied, with one or the other selected without explanation.
This paper outlines a framework that can be applied when undertaking a dam breach study for tailings dams to enable a consistent and credible assessment of potential failure impacts. The following tasks are discussed in detail in support of this framework: