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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Millions of dollars are spent on dam upgrade works which are often undertaken to meet the flood security requirements. Prioritisation of the dam upgrade work is based on portfolio risk assessments in which dambreak modelling is an integral part. Concurrent design flow hydrographs of tributaries downstream of dam are required for the assessment of the incremental effect of a dam break scenario. The Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) neutral concurrent tributary flows can be estimated using a bivariate-normal distribution approach.
This paper examines the underlying assumptions made in the application of the bivariate normal distribution approach using observed and design rainfall data for Avon Dam and its downstream tributary catchments. Synthetically generated data was used to illustrate the impact of the log-normal distribution assumption on the AEP neutral concurrent tributary rainfalls. This paper suggests a modification to the bivariate-normal distribution approach to estimate more unbiased AEP neutral concurrent design rainfalls. The use of historical gridded rainfall in the estimation of inter-catchment rainfall correlation is also demonstrated.
This paper will explore the differences in pore pressures resulting from saturated and unsaturated seepage (pore pressure) analysis. It will also evaluate some conventional recommendations, such as the inclusion of essential components of the embankment dam and omission of inessential components. In addition, the identification of inessential components will be discussed.
Finally, pore pressures obtained from these analyses will be compared to monitoring data in order to identify the most appropriate seepage (pore pressure) model.
In conclusion, advantages and disadvantages of each method will be discussed and recommendations will be provided in order to gain the most appropriate results.
The results of this paper can be used for designing new embankment dams or safety reviews of existing dams, particularly when there is lack of reliable monitoring data.
Dams leak! But only some of the leaks require investigation and remediation. When they do, finding the pathway of the leak becomes an expensive and slow process, often characterised by drilling “trial and error” boreholes that further impair the integrity of the structure. A much better alternative is to collect specialised data with highly sensitive instruments along all relevant points, map the data using the latest groundwater geophysics technology or hydrogeophysics technology, create 3D models of the subsurface including the flow path of the leak in question, and finally use software filters and algorithms to predict ongoing effects of the water problem. In this paper three case studies are presented including the Bartley Dam, King George Dam, and the Samanalawewa dam. All of the dams had leaks that concerned the dam owners. The method was applied to determine the location of the seepage paths passing through the dam. Remediation was completed at the Bartley Dam and King George Dam confirming the results from the method. And there are plans for remediation at the Samanalawewa dam. The method saved the clients a significant amount of money because they had a focused remediation. Knowing the dam has been repaired and there are no other leaks provides peace of mind to the dam owners.
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.
In 2015, a study was undertaken where recommendations were made to provide protection to the exposed rock in the unlined channel of the spillway at Burdekin Falls Dam. The protection included a matrix of anchor bars which extended the full 504 m width of the spillway and 25 m in the downstream direction. Over 1,200 anchors were proposed comprising 36 mm diameter bar extending up to 15 m into the foundation.
A value engineering study was undertaken in 2017 where a review of the rock scour potential was undertaken. The study was based on a methodology developed by Pells (2016) as part of a research grant funded under an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project which was jointly financed by the Federal Government of Australia, various state government bodies and engineering consultancies involved in dam design, operations and management.
This paper describes the approach taken as part of the value engineering study, the methods used in the assessment and the benefits of both innovative thinking and challenging the more traditional approach of rock scour assessment, the outcome of which resulted in a $11 m plus saving to the owner of the asset.