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.
Andrew Northfield, Simon Lang, Peter Hill
Melbourne Water currently manages more than230retarding basins (RBs). A large portion of these are less than 4 metres high, and traditionally structures of this size have not been subject to intermediate or detailed ANCOLD Consequence Assessments. However, the need to understand the failure consequences for smaller structures has increased over time, as risk based approaches to managing safety have expanded from large dams to other water retaining assets.
Undertaking detailed consequence assessments for all Melbourne Water’s RBs would not be practical, given the costs and time involved. Therefore, this paper describes a method for assessing the level of ANCOLD Consequence Assessment that is justified, based on the structure’s attributes. It also presents an equation that was used to estimate peak outflows from RB failure. The peak outflow estimates can be used to model approximate failure inundation extents downstream of small dams and RBs.
The paper draws on work that HARC have recently undertaken for Melbourne Water to assess the failure consequences for 88 RBs. The outcomes are relevant to other organisations that own or manage significant numbers of small water dams or RBs.
Zivko R. Terzic, Mark C. Quigley, Francisco Lopez
The Mt Bold Dam, located in the Mt Lofty Ranges in South Australia, is a 54m high concrete arch-gravity dam that impounds Adelaide’s largest reservoir. The dam site is located less than 500m from a suspected surface rupture trace of the Willunga fault.Preliminary assessments indicate that Mt Bold Dam is likely to be the dam with the highest seismic hazard in Australia, with the Flinders Ranges-Mt Lofty region experiencing earthquakes of sufficient magnitude to generate shaking damage every 8-10 years on average. Prior evidence suggests that the Willunga Fault is likely capable of generating M 7-7.2 earthquakes.As part of the South Australia Water Corporation (SA Water) portfolio of dams, Mt Bold Dam is regularly reviewed against the up-to-date dam safety guidelines and standards. SA Water commissioned GHD to undertake detailed site-specific geophysics, geotechnical and geomorphological investigations, and a detailed site-specific Seismic Hazard Assessment (SHA) of the Mt Bold Dam area. The results of this investigation will be used to inform decisions related to planned upgrade works of the dam.Geomorphological mapping of Willunga Fault, detailed geological mapping, analysis of airborne lidar data, geophysical seismic refraction tomography and seismic reflection surveys,and paleoseismic trenching and luminescence dating of faulted sediments was conducted to obtain input parameters for the site-specific SHA.Discrete single-event surface rupture displacements were estimated at ~60 cm at dam-proximal sites. The mean long-term recurrence interval (~37,000 yrs) is exceeded by the quiescent period since the most recent earthquake (~71,000 yrs ago) suggesting long-term variations in rupture frequency and slip rates and/or that the fault is in the late stage of a seismic cycle. The length-averaged slip rate for the entire Willunga Fault is estimated at 38 ± 13 m / Myr. Shear wave velocity (Vs30) of the dam foundations was estimated based on geotechnical data and geological models developed from geophysical surveys and boreholes drilled through the dam and into the foundation rock. The nearest seismic refraction tomography (SRT) lines were correlated with the boreholes and those velocity values used in the Vs30 parameter determination. All relevant input parameters were included into seismic hazard analysis with comprehensive treatment of epistemic uncertainties using logic trees for all inputs.Deterministic Seismic Hazard Analysis (DSHA) confirmed that the controlling fault source for the Mt Bold Dam site is Willunga Fault, which is located very close to main dam site (420m to the West).For more frequent seismic events (1 in 150, 1 in 500 and 1 in 1,000 AEP), the probabilistic analysis indicates that the main seismic hazard on the dam originates from the area seismic sources (background seismicity).Based on deaggregation analysis from the site specific Probabilistic Seismic Hazard (PSHA), the earthquakes capable of generating level of ground motion for the 1 in 10,000 AEP event can be expected to occur at mean distances of approximately 22km from the dam site(with the mean expected magnitude atMt Bold Damsite estimated at Mw >6).For less frequent (larger) seismic events, the contribution of the Willunga Fault to the seismic hazard of Mt Bold Dam can be clearly noted with Mode distance in the 0-5 km range, which indicates that most of the seismic hazard events larger than the 1 in 10,000 AEP comes from the Willunga Fault. The Mode magnitudes of the events are expected to be Mode Magnitude at Mw= 6.6 for a segmented Willunga Fault scenario, and Mw= 7.2 for a non-segmented fault scenario.Consideration was also given to the upcoming update of the ANCOLD Guidelines for Earthquake, which calls for the determination of the Maximum Credible Earthquake (MCE) on known faults for the Safety Evaluation Earthquake (SEE) of “Extreme” consequence category dams. The MCE for Mt Bold Dam was estimated from the DSHA; in terms of acceleration amplitude, the MCE event approximately equals the 1 in 50,000AEP seismic events.
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.
Paul S. Meeks
In June 2008 a young girl kayaking at a hydroelectric control dam owned by Alcan in Quebec Canada, tragically drowned when she was swept through the open spillgates. The public safety boat barrier, installed the year before, failed to prevent this accident. In June 2015, Stephen Hembree took his daughter and 7 of her friends out for a pontoon boat ride on Lake Linganore to celebrate her 16th birthday. A short time later, Mr. Hembree was dead while his daughter and her friends were be rescued by helicopter as they clung to boulders in the spillway. Contrast these incidents to one in March 2017, when the public safety boat barrier installed by Alliant Energy at Kilbourn Dam was credited with preventing the loss of life after a woman fell into the river above the dam. What went wrong in the first 2 instances and what can we learn from the third incident? What steps can dam owners take to prevent accidents like these from happening?
The first two incidents represent preventable loss of life at a dam while the third incident proves how a proactive approach to public safety results in reduced liability for dam owners and lower loss of life. In the Alcan instance, the public safety barrier installed to prevent this very scenario was instead installed in a location that doomed the girl even before she set her kayak in the water. The second instance demonstrates how a dam owners lack of risk awareness coupled with a boat owners carelessness resulted in a fatality.
Using the incidents above, this presentation, modeled after the Canadian Dam Associations Guidelines for Public Safety Around Dams, will educate owners and operators how to identify “dangerous” zones above and below dams. We will consider the effects of surface water velocity of individual survivability and barrier effectiveness. Flow-3D models will be shown to illustrate the effect of barrier alignment and velocity to increase an individual’s ability to “self-rescue”. Lastly, we will integrate within the presentation practical guidelines for the use of signage, sign size, lettering height and message consistency. The presentation will conclude by examining lessons learned in the Alcan incident and presenting how a proper public safety barrier and signage plan would be implemented.
More people have died from accidents around dams than have died from dam failures. The Canadian Dam Association published its guidelines in 2011 and the result has seen a significant reduction in fatalities and injuries as a result of recreating around Canadian Dams. The United States Society on Dams (USSD), the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) all have embarked on efforts, modeled in large part around the CDA Guidelines to bring Public Safety out of the dam safety toolbox so Public Safety is viewed as a separate managed system. This is being conducted in an effort to educate and alert dam owners, operators and recreational users to hazards and risks in and around dams.
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