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.
Craig Johnson, Mark Arnold
Toorourrong Reservoir is a small storage reservoir which was constructed in 1885 and forms an important part of Melbourne’s water supply network. As part of Melbourne Water’s dam safety upgrade program, remedial works at Toorourrong Reservoir were identified to address deficiencies in flood capacity, embankment stability and to provide protection against piping. These works included an engineered filter system, downstream stabilising berm and raising of the dam crest level by 2.3m through a combination of earthfill and a concrete parapet wall. The existing spillway also required substantial enlargement and the existing scour and outlet structures were to be reconfigured. These works were designed and undertaken by the Water Resources Alliance (WRA).
Preliminary geotechnical investigations indicated the dam was founded on soft alluvial deposits, with the potential for foundation liquefaction under earthquake loading. During the course of subsequent investigations, the full complexity of the dam foundation was realised using numerous techniques including geophysics, CPT
u probes and seismic dilatometer testing. The results of these investigations were used to develop a detailed geotechnical model and embankment design sections. A range of analytical methods were utilised to characterise the liquefaction potential of the foundation, with these making reference to recent developments in this area of practice. Through an extensive assessment and review process, the design soil properties for the foundation were established and the liquefaction potential determined.
Based on these assessments, it was found that the potential for liquefaction existed across the majority of the dam foundation, with discrete soil layers liquefying depending on the intensity of the design seismic event. Strain-weakening (sensitive) soils were also identified in the foundation. A quasi risk-based stability assessment was undertaken for a range of post-liquefaction strength parameters and FoS to determine the sensitivity of the foundation response. Stability analyses were performed which indicated that additional stabilising berms were required at several locations. However, even with these berms, the extremely low post-liquefaction strengths meant that further ground improvement was required. This was assessed further and Grouted Stone Columns (GSC) were ultimately selected as the preferred foundation improvement method for the critical design sections with GSC to be installed both upstream and downstream to reinforce the dam foundation. This is the first time GSC have been used in Australia and some key “lessons learned” will be discussed.
2011 – Toorourrong Reservoir – Small Dam, Big Problems
Richard R. Davidson, Joergen Pilzand Bruce Brown
Recent earthquakes in Chile, New Zealand and Japan have created a new focus on the safe design of tailings dams in seismic regions of the world. Building sand and rockfill embankments to sustain large ground motions and provide crucial drainage of excess pore pressures remain daunting challenges at each site. Are conventional hydraulic deposition practices still viable? What new technologies can be considered? Addressing seismic stability of existing upstream method tailings dams whether currently in operation or closed is stretching our seismic geotechnical engineering profession to its limits of understanding of behaviour. Creating a safe, secure environmental storage must also be integrated with the geotechnical and hydrologic concerns. Is there a viable risk context to consider these competing issues? This paper will raise these issues within the international context and suggest a prudent path forward.
2011 – The Challenges of Building Tailings Dams in Seismic Regions
The enlargement of the Cotter Dam is being undertaken by ACTEW to provide a greater security of water supply to Canberra. The project involves constructing a larger, higher new dam wall immediately downstream of the existing Cotter Dam, to allow the present dam to continue functioning and supplying water while construction is underway. The project raised a number of environmental issues partly because the Cotter Dam currently supports a self-sustaining population of (endangered) Macquarie Perch, and because the Bendora Dam, upstream of Cotter Dam, contains a breeding population of (endangered) Trout Cod. Bendora Dam will not be physically affected by the works on Cotter Dam, but its operations may be altered. An ecological risk analysis was conducted to identify critical environmental risks that would need to be investigated and managed or ameliorated and management strategies were put in place to reduce risks. ACTEW have adopted an adaptive management approach to the project, but in order to implement that approach it is necessary to conduct effective monitoring of the fish populations of concern. These potentially include the two endangered species, as well as potential predators (such as cormorants) and competitors (such as trout). Power analysis has been used as a tool to evaluate whether it is feasible to monitor key populations sufficiently rigorously to be able to confidently detect a change (either an increase or decrease in a population). For Macquarie Perch and trout it should be possible to detect population changes statistically with a logistically feasible monitoring program.
2011 – Using risk analysis, power analysis and adaptive management to minimise ecological impacts of the Cotter Dam enlargement
G. Hadzilacos, ML. Ng, K. Taske, A. Small and B. Loney
Alteration of flow patterns by constructing a dam may have an irreversible impact on ecosystems depending on the timing, duration and frequency of these flows. As part of an Environmental Impact Study, carried out for a proposed mining operation in Australia that included an earth dam on a pristine ephemeral creek, an appropriate waterway management scheme was proposed that required the establishment of measurable instream flow requirements. This paper describes an environmental flow analysis (EFA) carried out to identify flow regimes that achieve the desired ecological outcomes for the affected waterways. The EFA methodology was based on the range-of-variability approach using a calibrated rainfall-runoff model to form the hydrologic basis. The study established a relationship between flow components and ecological variables based upon which the flow requirements were estimated using a simple methodology.
2011 – A case study of an initial Environmental Flows Assessment for an earth dam on a pristine stream in Cape York