Investigations into the core material of earth fill dams are undertaken reluctantly due to the potential to cause damage to the embankment. Where investigations are required, Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) is increasingly used to assist with the geotechnical assessment of dam embankments. The risk of hydraulic fracture within embankment core material is well known and procedures are typically adopted to minimise the risk of hydraulic fracture during remediation of the holes. Backfilling is typically done in stages allowing for an initial set of the cement/bentonite grout mixture prior to subsequent lifts.
While the risk of hydraulic fracture is well understood, the lesser known risk of pneumatic fracture is a possibility where certain conditions exist. This paper discusses CPT investigations at Fairbairn Dam, operated by Sunwater in Central Queensland, and the challenges faced in undertaking the remediation of the CPT holes. The potential for pneumatic fracture of the embankment core was highlighted during the investigations and details of alternative techniques adopted for reinstatement of the holes are presented. Recommendations are made to appropriately manage the risk of pneumatic fracture when undertaking CPT’s through embankment core.
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For intraplate regions such as Australia, identifying and quantifying activity on tectonic faults for inclusion in probabilistic seismic hazard assessments can be challenging due to the typically long return period for ground-rupturing earthquakes associated with these structures. Return periods of 10,000’s to 1,000,000’s of years mean that surface displacement evidence is prone to degradation through erosion and burial, and paleoseismological ‘trench’ excavations may not uncover geology old enough to reveal previous events. As a consequence, there is often little or no preserved evidence of past ground rupturing events on these structures. Rather than ignoring faults which show no evidence of neotectonic displacement, we present an alternative approach; in addition to considering active faults (movement in the last 35,000 years) and neotectonic faults (movement in the last 10 Myr) in seismic hazard assessments, we also consider faults which otherwise show no evidence of neotectonic activity but which are aligned favourably with the current stress regime and are therefore potential sources of earthquakes and accompanying strong ground motion.
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.
Global climate change will amplify existing risks, as well as create new risks for natural and human systems. Recent climate changes have already had widespread impacts on human and natural systems. Dams provide a range of economic, environmental and social benefits including irrigation, flood control, water supply, hydroelectric power, recreation and wildlife habitat and play an important role in human settlement. Adapting into the effects of climate change is vitally important for future management of dams. This paper uses the recent drought and floods in Victoria to illustrate the importance of considering the effects of climate change in design, operations, maintenance and emergency management of dams.
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.
Following the catastrophic failure of the bottom outlet conduits of the Massingir Dam, a rehabilitation project was launched involving the installation of steel liners and the rehabilitation of the hydromechanical equipment. This paper describes the testing of an emergency gates for possible use as a control gate to maintain supply to downstream water users. It further describes the innovative use of alternative access for concreting and other services, the use and benefits of self-compacting concrete for infill concreting between the steel liner and existing concrete and the programme and cost benefits of pressurising the steel conduit prior to concrete encasement.