Barton Maher and Michael Peel
The Queensland Bulk Water Supply Authority (Seqwater) manages up to $12 billion of bulk water supply infrastructure and the natural catchments of the region’s water supply sources to ensure a reliable, quality water supply for more than 3million consumers across the region. Seqwater was formed on 1 January 2013 through a merger of three State-owned water businesses, the SEQ Water Grid Manager, LinkWater and the former Seqwater. Seqwater delivers a safe, secure and reliable water supply to South East Queensland, as well as providing essential flood mitigation services and managing catchment health. Seqwater also provides water for irrigation to about 1,200 farmers and offers community recreation facilities enjoyed by more than 2.5 million people each year.Seqwater owns and operates 26 referable dams which fall under the dam safety regulation in Queensland, 51 weirs, and two bore fields across the region. Twelve key dams across the region supply as much as 90% of South East Queensland’s drinking water.In 2011, Seqwater engaged a consultant team of URS (now AECOM) and SKM (now Jacobs) to undertake a portfolio risk assessment of the 26 referable dams and Mount Crosby Weir. At the completion of the project in December 2013 there were 12 dams with life safety risks assessed as being above the ANCOLD and DEWS Limit of Tolerability. A $6.2 million investigation was approved in 2014 to commence planning for the recommended dam safety upgrades and reduce uncertainties in the risk assessment.This program of work was completed in late 2016. The estimated costs of the identified dam safety upgrades exceed $900 million.Confronted with such a large capital program, Seqwater has instigated a number of key actions including:-benchmarking capital investment and rates of risk reduction achieved by other dam owners through a dam owners group-developing a dam safety investment policy to provide a clear guidance on the framework for prioritising and scheduling upgrades-undertaking targeted investigations to reduce uncertainty in the risk assessments including the use of detailed consequence assessment-preparing a prioritised schedule of planned upgrades to gain endorsement from Government and the Dam Safety Regulator. This paper presents the outcomes of the Portfolio Risk Assessment and key changes to the initial risk assessment following further studies. The basis for the dam safety investment policy is presented and the proposed prioritisation tools.The impacts of the risk assessment provisions in the most recent revision of Queensland Acceptable Flood Capacity Guidelines for Water Dams are also discussed. In particular,the application of the economic criteria for determining the minimum upgrade required by the Queensland Dam Safety Regulator and its relevance to other dam owners.
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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.
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.
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.
A common concern for large spillways is erosion of the receiving plunge pool and potential impacts on the stability of the dam.Devils Gate Dam is an 84m high, double curvature arch concrete dam, located in northern Tasmania and constructed between 1968 and 1970.The full 134m long crest is designed as a free-overflow spillway and spill flows impact the downstream valley sides and plunge pool below, where energy is dissipated to reduce riverbank erosion downstream.To protect foundation rock,the plunge pool and large portions of the valley sides were concrete lined with 450mm thick reinforced and anchored concrete. During spill events the area is inundated by up to 12m of tail-water.In 2016 damage to the plunge pool concrete was discovered by divers during a special inspection of the impact areas, but poor visibility limited the understanding of the extent and severity. Subsequent investigations, including detailed sonar scanning, improved the understanding but it was not until the plunge pool was fully dewatered that the full extent of the damage was quantified.The damage commenced around 35m downstream of the dam arch and consisted of approximately 330 square metres of moderately to severely eroded concrete and exposed, deformed, and in some areas completely removed reinforcing bars. The most significant feature was a penetration through the concrete up to 2.5m into the foundation rock.A number of stressed anchor heads were also damaged or destroyed.A full appreciation of the damage necessitated the decision for immediate repairs given the impending power station refurbishment (commencing January 2018) which will subject the plunge pool to nine months of constant spill.This paper outlines the diving and sonar investigations undertaken in 2016, discusses the challenging tasks of dewatering the plunge pool and gaining access through the narrow canyon, and presents the physical works to strengthen the damaged areas.It discusses the difficulty of identifying and treating such damage, and serves as a cautionary tale for other owners who have fully submerged plunge pools downstream of spillways.
John Harris, James Robinson, Ron Fleming
Haldon Dam Remediation: A Case Study of Earthquake Damage and RestorationJohn Harris, James Robinson, Ron FlemingAECOM New Zealand LimitedAECOM New Zealand Limited, Fleming Project Services Limited Haldon Dam is a 15m high zoned earth-fill embankment irrigation dam, located approximately 10 km south-west of Seddon, in the Awatere Valley, New Zealand. The crest and upstream shoulder of the embankment suffered serious damage during the 2013 Cook Strait earthquakes, and the Regulator enforced emergency lowering of the reservoir by 5.5m to reduce the risk of flooding to Seddon Township from a potential dam failure. AECOM was engaged by the owner to carry out a forensic analysis of the damaged dam and subsequently the design of the 2-Stage remedial works. The remedial works addressed the existing dam deficiencies and earthquake damage in order to restore the dam to full operational capacity and gain code compliance certification. Key features oft he approach included holding a design workshop with the owner prior to undertaking detailed design, careful rationalisation of the upstream shoulder to optimise the competing interests of strength and permeability, contractor and regulator involvement in the design and construction process, and balancing risk and constructability with the chimney filter retrofit. This paper presents a description of, and approach to, remedial works solution undertaken to remediate a substandard and earthquake-damaged dam to fully operational status in an area of high seismicity. Applying this approach, the objective of achieving a robust, safe, economical design that was acceptable to the regulators and the owner was achieved.