Paul Southcott,Suraj Neupane and David Krushka
TasWater owns and operates the water supply in Queenstown on the west coast of Tasmania. Anew water treatment plant was constructed downstream from one of the seven small dams that made up the original supply system, making the remaining six dams redundant.Two of these dams hada very high annual probability of failure and unacceptable societal life and financial risk due to their poor condition.Both dams required urgent attention (upgrade) to retain them as a lasting asset and legacy for the community or decommissioning to create a new ecological legacy.Roaring Meg Dam (6m high with a 9ML capacity) was constructed on Roaring Meg Creek around 1963. The Cutten Street Dam No 3 (10m high with a 2.4ML capacity) was constructed on Reservoir Creek around 1902to supply water to a growing mining community and had been in use since then. From a heritage perspective, the dam had some value as a timber crib and rockfill dam and its historical context as a key factor in the development of the town.There is limited guidance in the ANCOLD (2003) Dam Safety Management Guidelines on decommissioning and a process had to be developed in cooperation with the Regulator in this relatively new area of dam engineering. Detailed design of the decommissioning including diversion work during decommissioning, channel design to align with the original creek to help restore its ecological function and rehabilitation work on the exposed reservoir soils to stabilise them were undertaken. Aboriginal and historic heritage studies, flora & fauna studies and fluvio-geomorphological study at the dam sites were also undertaken to ensure that the decommissioning work did not interfere with the heritage, threatened species and riparian processes. The community were consulted to ensure acceptance of the changes to their town. Dam safety emergency management plans for the decommissioning of these dams was were also prepared. A significant issue in the decommissioning work was frequent and high rainfall due to the location of these dams on the west coast of Tasmania. The entire dam removal work had to be planned within the window of dry weather or very little rainfall. This paper presents the process, activities and lessons learned in successfully decommissioning these dams,to eliminate the unacceptably high risks posed by these dams and to restore the normal riparian processes.The general approach adopted for this project has applicability for other damsandis proposed as a starting point for an ANCOLD practice note in this area
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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.
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.
Mark Stephen Rynhoud, David Johns and Len Murray
The Hamata tailings storage facility at the Hidden Valley mine is being constructed in a remote, high rainfall, tropical environment in a mountainous region of Papua New Guinea. Implementation of the design hasrequired adapting the design in response to various challenges encountered on the site during the ongoing construction period, based on observations by the designers and site monitoring data which is continuously collected and compared against design assumptions. This paper describes some of the design and construction modifications which have been implemented since construction of the tailings facility started and provides a case history of some of the challenges facing designers and construction crews when mining in remote, tropical conditions.
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.
Jiri Herza, Michael Ashley, James Thorp
The principle of minimum acceptable factors of safety has been used to assess the stability of embankment dams for decades. The commonly applied minimum acceptable factors of safety remain very similar to those recommended in the early 1970’s, despite the development of new design tools and better understanding of material behaviour. The purpose of factors of safety is to ensure reliability of the dam design and to account for uncertainties and variability of dam and foundation material parameters, uncertainties of design loads and limitations of the analysis method used. The impact of uncertainties and reliability of input values into stability analyses was recognised many decades ago, and the factor of safety was recommended depending on the loading conditions and the consequences of failure or unacceptable performance. Interestingly, the minimum recommended factors of safety used today do not take into account the potential consequences of dam failure or the uncertainties in input values, and are based on the loading conditions only. Yet, several authors have demonstrated that a higher factor of safety does not necessarily result in a lower probability of failure, as the analysis also depends on the quality of investigations, testing, design and construction. This paper summarises the history of the factor of safety principle in dam engineering, discusses the calculation of the factor of safety using commonly used analytical tools, demonstrates the impact of uncertainties using a case study and provides recommendations for potential improvements.