Two tailings storage cells were raised by constructing new embankments upstream of the existing
embankment walls. The performance of the new embankments was mainly dictated by the underlying tailings that consisted of a thick layer of very soft to soft fine tailings. The fine tailings in one cell was capped by a layer of sand for more than 30 years hence the tailings had mostly consolidated under the load of the capping. The fine tailings in the other cell was under consolidated because the cell had only been capped for about 18 months before the construction of the new embankment. The capping material was sand extracted from the tailings.
Stratification of the tailings was determined by CPT. Undisturbed samples of fine tailings were obtained by a piston sampler for CIU and oedometer testing to obtain parameters required for advanced soil models SHANSEP and Soft Soil (SS) models. These models were incorporated in full 2-D FE models to analyse the stability and settlement of the new embankments at various locations.
The application of advanced soil models such as SHANSEP and Soft Soil by hand calculation and
conventional slope stability analysis is considered cumbersome and labour intensive. This paper
demonstrates that with the help of FE software (PLAXIS in this case), it is practical to implement such advanced soil models to simulate the behaviours of soft fine tailings with reasonable accuracy. A similar approach could be used to model other fine tailings and soft clays. One should be reminded that the reliability of any analysis method relies on validation of the analysis model and parameters adopted.
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Across Australia, recreation usage around dams is growing rapidly. There is also increasing public expectation around the facilities provided and the activities that can be undertaken.
While dams create many benefits, they also have inherent risks associated with them. The risks associated with public access include public and staff safety, water quality, pollution, environmental degradation, bushfires, water availability, dam & power generation operations, and financial.
In 2016 the Victorian government released “Water for Victoria”, a strategy for managing increasingly valued water resources and a growing population. This strategy recognises the importance of recreational enjoyment of waterways and commits water corporations to continuing to maintain infrastructure and facilities to support recreational objectives at their water storages. Water for Victoria also commits water corporations to consider recreational user objectives in the way water storage and supply is managed. However, this must be within legislative requirements to meet the needs of water entitlement holders and with awareness of the realities of dry conditions and climate change.
For the last 10 years, Goulburn Murray Water has been progressively rolling out Land & on Water Management Plans and setting up Land & on Water Implementation Committees. These committees provide a forum for liaison with local government, other statutory authorities, as well as interested environmental, heritage, indigenous, commercial and recreation groups. The groups aim to understand the concerns and requirements of all parties, take appropriate action, which may involve educating communities where some of their desired actions are not achievable.
While this approach has been successful, the growth in social media and the emergence of groups outside of the Land & on Water process has meant that consultation has had to be extended to include self-identifying, special interest groups. This has involved the development of separate groups at Dartmouth and Lake Eppalock to educate and work through the issue at hand, developing appropriate actions, which are accepted and implemented by all parties.
This paper will review the Goulburn Murray Water Land & on Water process, and consider two cases studies, namely the “Save Lake Eppalock” community driven campaign and the provision of fishing access on Dartmouth regulating pondage.
On February 7, 2017, the gated service spillway (also known as the Flood
Control Outlet or FCO Spillway) at Oroville Dam was being used to release water
to control the Lake Oroville level according to the prescribed operations plan.
During this operation, the service spillway’s concrete chute slab failed, resulting
in the loss of spillway chute slab sections and deep erosion of underlying
foundation materials. Subsequently, as the damaged service spillway was
operated in an attempt to manage multiple risks, the project’s free overflow
emergency spillway was overtopped for the first time since the project was
completed in 1968. Significant erosion and headcutting occurred downstream of
the emergency spillway’s crest structure, leading authorities to evacuate about
188,000 people from downstream communities.
The As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP) principle was established in the Australian Dams
community in the ANCOLD Guidelines on Risk Assessment in 1994. Since that time, dam owners have been focused on reducing their societal risk to below the ANCOLD Limit of Tolerability (LoT) through dam safety upgrades and are now considering how to justify an ALARP position. This paper presents a framework that provides a systematic approach to assembling the inputs, applying a process and documenting the outcomes of an ALARP assessment. It is a pragmatic approach that aligns with the safety case, which is a legislated requirement for Major Hazard Facilities in Victoria.
The framework has been applied to two dams in Melbourne Water’s portfolio with differing societal risk, size, uses and criticality to the water supply system. It has highlighted the importance of dam safety governance, documentation of procedures, defensible technical analysis and an ongoing engagement with leading industry practice, in demonstrating risks are ALARP.
Installing a suite of appropriate instruments such as piezometers, settlement plates, extensometers, and inclinometers etc., in strategic locations to monitor the performance of an embankment built on soft soils is vital when there are major design uncertainties; the monitoring data can also be used to calibrate the design parameters. Questionable readings of pore water pressure (PWP) have been reported in various case studies involving the development of dams, embankment foundations and reclamation work in Australia and in South East Asia, especially in low-lying acid sulphate soil (ASS) floodplains. Despite having vertical drains (PVDs), excess pore water pressure readings from Vibrating Wire Piezometers (VWPs) do not always dissipate as fast as expected, especially after a certain period of time, typically a year. This paper describes the biological and geo-chemical factors affecting reliability of Vibrating Wire (VW) piezometers, filter-tip clogging, smearing of soil adjoining the filter, gas generation, chemical alteration or corrosion of the filter, as well as electro-osmotic effects and cavitation. To that end, several VW piezometers installed in ASS terrain were extracted after being in place for 1.5 years and the soil surrounding the tips was tested for iron related and sulphate reducing bacteria. It is found that sulphate reducing bacteria has medium to high aggressivity whereas iron related bacteria has very high aggressivity with the bacteria count exceeding 20,000. VWPs with ceramic/stainless steel filter tips installed in acidic ground with organic contents exceeding say 4-5% have shown impeded dissipation of excess pore water pressure after a year or so. Accordingly, it appears that this issue is likely in other types of piezometers fitted with such ceramic or stainless filters when installed in ASS soils. Further Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) analysis of the piezometer filter is also ongoing at the University of Wollongong (UOW) laboratory to determine how ionic precipitation causes a VW piezometer to clog. In addition, several samples were collected from Victorian Dams and are being tested in University of Wollongong (UOW) laboratory to quantify the clogging effect in Dam practice when installed in ASS terrain.
Yarrawonga and Torrumbarry Weirs; located on the Murray River bordering Victoria and New South
Wales, are operated by Goulburn Murray Water on behalf of the Murray Darling Basin Authority.
The electrical and control systems that operate both structures were nearing 20 years of age, resulting in risk associated with equipment nearing the end of its useful working life and hardware obsolescence, driving this upgrade program. These control systems are critical in the monitoring and management of river levels and flows that extensively affect Victorian and New South Wales irrigation supplies and recreational users on the Murray River and Lake Mulwala.
Considerable effort was required to update and develop the control philosophy before proceeding to the design phase of the projects. The requirement to work on these brownfield sites, while maintaining operational ability and minimising dam safety and water delivery risks, resulted in a significant implementation and commissioning process. During the course of these works, the opportunity was also taken to enhance and update remote monitoring capability.
The lessons learnt on these projects are being incorporated into current Electrical and Control System Upgrade projects at Cairn Curran Reservoir and Dartmouth Dam.