Elaine Pang, Robert Fowden
There are numerous established methods available for assessing the consequences of failure for earthen water dams.The estimation of breach dimensions and failure times remains the greatest common area of uncertainty, particularly for dams under 10m in height, where the number of historic records behind the established methods reduces considerably.Also, various factors can have a significant impact on the strength of small dam embankments, potentially contributing to the likelihood of failure.Consequently, failure impact assessments for smaller dams may rely more heavily on the engineering judgement of the responsible engineer. Although the consequences of failure may indeed be lower for smaller dams, the large number of unknown or unregulated dams in some locations means that it can be difficult to quantify their overall contribution in terms of dam safety risk. This paper presents an on-going project to compile and analyse observed small earthen dam failures with the intent of refining existing statistical breach relationships for smaller dams.Context is provided through an overview of DEWS’ investigative program, including the presentation of several case studies which highlight field data collected throughout the program.
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D Stephens, S Lang, P Hill, M Scorah
Robust estimates of the duration of flood overtopping are a key input into the dam safety risk assessment process. For embankment dams, the likelihood of erosion of the dam crest, downstream face and eventual unravelling of the embankment are heavily dependent on the duration of water flowing over the crest. Similarly, the chance of erosion of the abutments of concrete dams is strongly linked to the duration of floodwaters overtopping the dam. Previously, it has been difficult to define the annual exceedance probability (AEP) of the flood required to cause overtopping of a certain depth for a certain duration, and coarse assessments have typically been made based on critical storm durations of the dam crest flood (DCF). This approach carries significant uncertainty, particularly for structures on smaller catchments where the critical storm duration on outflow may be relatively short. In these cases, it has been difficult to confirm with any reliability that the flood required to achieve a significant duration of overtopping has an AEP close to that of the DCF. This paper describes a new algorithm that has been incorporated into the RORB hydrological model which allows for a frequency curve of flood overtopping duration to be determined within a Monte Carlo framework. The results of this analysis are presented for a case study of a quantitative risk assessment, to demonstrate how the outcomes influenced numerous aspects of the risk analysis process.
Gavan Hunter, David Jeffery and Stephen Chia
The Main Embankment at Tullaroop Dam in central Victoria is a 43 m high earthfill embankment with a very broad earthfill zone and rockfill zones at the outer toe regions. There has been an extensive history of cracking within the Main Embankment since formalisation of visual inspections in 1987.Widespread cracking has been observed on the crest and downstream shoulder. Cracking on the crest has mainly been longitudinal, but transverse cracks have also been observed. Cracking on the downstream shoulder has comprised longitudinal, diagonal and transverse cracking. In April 2004, a 60 mm wide diagonal crack opened on the downstream shoulder of the left abutment (from crest to toe) and Goulburn-Murray Water constructed a local filter buttress in 2005/06 on the left abutment. In 2011/12 a longitudinal crack opened up on the upper downstream berm toward the right abutment. The crack was initially 15m long and 10 to 215 mm wide, then propagated several months later to 70 m in length, 40 to 50 mm width and greater than 3 m in depth.In May 2011 three piezometers within the earth fill core recorded a very rapid rise in pore water pressure equivalent to 12 to 13 m pressure head above their previous readings. The piezometers were located on the same alignment (upstream to downstream) and were located below the crest and downstream shoulder, and the rise was to levels close to and above the embankment surface. The piezometers then showed a steady fall with time returning to the pre rise levels after 4 to 6 weeks.In 2015/16 Goulburn-Murray Water undertook dam safety upgrade works to reduce the risk of piping through the Main Embankment by extension of the filter buttress across the full width of the embankment. During these upgrade works, very deep (greater than 5 m) and extensive transverse cracks were observed in the embankment over relatively subtle slope changes on the right abutment.Thecracking and pore water pressure behaviour in the Main Embankment at Tullaroop Reservoir present an important case study. The paper provides details on the cracking and postulated crack mechanisms, and the rapid pore water pressure rise and postulated mechanisms. A summary of the upgrade works is also provided.
Radin Espandar, Mark Locke and James Faithful
Brown coal ash has the potential to be a hazard to the environment and local communities if its storage is not well managed. The risk of releasing contained ash from an ash tailings dam due to earthquake induced liquefaction is a concern for mining lease holders, mining regulators and the community.Ash tailings dams are typically raised by excavating and compacting reclaimed ash to form new embankments over slurry deposited ash, relying on drying consolidation and minor cementation for stability. Understanding the post-earthquake behaviour of the brown coal ash is necessary to assess the overall stability of an ash tailings dam during and after seismic loading events.A particular concern is the seismic motion may break cementation bonds within the ash resulting in a large reduction in shear strength (i.e. sensitive soil behaviour) and potential instability. There is limited information available for black coal ash however, brown coal ash has different properties to black coal ash and no known work has been carried out to date in this area.The dynamic and post-earthquake behaviour, including liquefaction susceptibility, of the brown coal ash was studied, specifically for Hazelwood Ash Pond No. 4 Raise (HAP4A) in Latrobe Valley, Victoria. In this study, different well-known methods for liquefaction susceptibility, including the methods based on the index parameters, the cone penetration test (CPT) and the cyclic triaxial testing, were used and the results were compared.It was found that the impounded brown coal ash is susceptible to liquefaction and /or cyclic softening. Triggering of the liquefaction or softening was assessed based on the results of cyclic triaxial test.In this methodology, the relationship among axial strain(εa), Cyclic Stress Ratio (CSR) and number of uniform cycles (Nequ) was determined based on the triaxial test results. Then, asite-specific CSR was determined using the ground response analysis. The CSR and number of uniform cycles (Nequ) for each ash layer was calculated and added to the εa-CSR-Nequgraph to determine the expected axial strain during an MCE event. It was found that the calculated axial strain for the ash embankment and ash deposits during site specific Maximum Credible Earthquake (MCE) are less than the axial strain of the ash material required for triggering of liquefaction and the brown coal ash in HAP4A does not liquefy and/or soften the material during an MCE event. Also it was found that the insitu tests which break the cementation between particles(such as CPT)does not provide accurate results on triggering or sensitivity.
Paul Somerville, Andreas Skarlatoudis and Don Macfarlane
The 2017 draft ANCOLD Guidelines for Design of Dams and Appurtenant Structures for Earthquake specify that active faults (with movement in the last 11,000 to 35,000 years) and neotectonic faults (with movement in the current crustal stress regime, in the past 5 to 10 million years) which could significantly contribute to the ground motion for the dam should be identified, and be accounted for in the seismic hazard assessment. The purpose of this paper is to provide guidance on the conditions under which these contributions could be significant in a probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA)and a deterministic seismic hazard analysis (DSHA).We consider five primary conditions under which identified faults can contribute significantly to the hazard: proximity, probability of activity, rate of activity, magnitude distribution, and return period under consideration
James Toose, Lelio Mejia, Jorge Fernandez
The recently completed Panama Canal Expansion project required construction of a new, 6.7-km-long channel at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, to provide navigation access from the new Post-Panamax locks to the existing Gaillard Cut section of the Canal. The new channel required construction of four new dams adjacent to the existing canal, referred to as Borinquen Dams 1E, 2E, 1W, and 2W. The dams retain Gatun Lake and the Canal waterway approximately 11 m above the level of Miraflores Lake and 27m above the Pacific Ocean.The largest of the dams, Dam 1E, is 2.4km long and up to 30 m high. The dam abuts against Fabiana Hill at the southern end, and against the original Pedro Miguel Locks at the northern end. This paper provides an overview of the key challenges in construction of Dam 1E including the foundation, seepage cut-offs and embankment.