K.A. Crawford-Flett, J.J.Eldridge, E.T. Bowman, C. Gordon
This paper provides an interpretation of factors governing the manifestation of internal erosion in a New Zealand canal that was constructed during the 1970s. Liner and subgrade soils were sampled during de- watering of Tekapo Canal in 2013, following the surveillance of erosion events over the preceding decades. This paper focuses on the interpretation of erosion susceptibility of liner and subgrade soil gradations sampled at four locations. Of the four locations, Sites 2, 3, and 4 were associated with internal erosion defects. A single location (Site 1) was selected to provide benchmark “intact” (un-eroded) samples.
Interpretation of susceptibility of the widely-graded soils to internal erosion mechanisms was achieved through the application of established empirical techniques for internal stability, filter compatibility, and segregation. Analysis of gradations, which are believed representative of some – but likely not all – canal soils, showed that Sites associated with erosion defects had liner-subgrade interfaces that permitted “some erosion” (NE < D15F < EE), while the Site showing no sign of erosion possessed an interface that met modern filter retention criteria for No Erosion. Based on gradation analysis, internal instability is considered a possibility for subgrade materials in particular. It is possible that subgrade materials that fail No Erosion criteria for liner retention may not represent as-built material and may instead have lost finer fractions in situ due to seepage-induced instability, leaving a coarser-than-placed and filter-incompatible subgrade.
This case study demonstrates the use of gradation-based empirical methods as initial screening tools to assess the susceptibility of soils to internal instability, filter compatibility, and segregation. The relationship between the internal stability of a filter and the filter’s particle retention performance (compatibility) is emphasised. As well as gradation susceptibility, the assessment of other factors such as segregation and hydraulic loads must be considered in order to better-understand susceptibility to erosion mechanisms.
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Dam spillway gate collapse may have fatal consequences and cause severe structural damage due to flooding, additionally the dam owner will suffer substantial business losses. The repair work required to put a gate back in service can be time consuming, challenging, dangerous and costly. To ensure the reliability of radial gate operation, and depending on the type of trunnion bearing and the structural capacity of the gate arms, the bearing friction should be carefully monitored and gate performance evaluated to confirm the gate’s ability to withstand increases in friction over time. The frequency of monitoring requires careful consideration.
Radial gate arms are normally designed to withstand bending moments from nominal bearing friction. An inappropriate bearing, or a bearing in poor condition, might have friction sufficiently high to cause a gate arm to fail due to the excessive bending moment during gate operation.
An easy and non-invasive way of analysing the condition of the bearing, to ensure safe operation of radial gates where the arms might be prone to increased bending moment, is through friction measurement with the use of strain gauges. This paper briefly presents common radial gate design and some failure modes as a consequence of increased bearing friction, and a method of determining the bearing friction coefficient through strain gauge measurements and experience from the field is presented.
The waters that feed the Nyamwamba River in western Uganda start as meltwater from the glaciers high up in the Rwenzori Mountains. A small scale run-of-river hydropower plant, equipped with a low height tyrolean type intake weir, is now operating just upstream of the town of Kilembe, the first large community along this river. History has seen floods cause realignments of the river through the town and major damage to property and loss of life.
A devastating flood occurred during the design phase for the scheme prior to any construction commencing, which caused loss of life and significant damage to roads, bridges and buildings within the town, including the hospital. Design changes to improve resilience of all riverine connections were made, including relocation of the diversion weir to a stronghold point within the basic protection zone of a natural island. A flood diversion dyke was constructed across one of the river branches that flows around the island, with its alignment, type and height optimised to capture low flows for energy generation while deflecting large flows away from the weir to mitigate flood damage.
Another major flood arrived three months after completion. No damage was sustained which provided confidence in the resilience of the headworks. A major river dredging program contributed to the overall resilience of this reach of river through the town.
This paper describes the challenges for the development of the project site in terms of physical considerations to work with the river, adopting some lessons learned from the pre-construction floods.
Failure modes of seepage and internal erosion have been identified as one of the key issues for the
ongoing safety of dams and canals in New Zealand. Accordingly, many dams and canals have had
improvement works carried out to mitigate this issue. This paper examines the long-term performance of these measures including three case studies. It is concluded that the performance of these measures has been variable, but ongoing monitoring and periodic review has identified deterioration in performance. There are a number of technical areas where uncertainties on long-term performance may still remain, such as geotextiles in important filter functions and waterstops of various types.
There are currently around four new flood detention reservoirs (retarding basins) built each year in UK, which although only being modest structures with median height of 4m and reservoir capacity of 300,000m3 pose a significant risk to the community as they are located immediately upstream of the community they are protecting. These communities range from around five to several thousand households.
The cost and therefore viability of these structures can vary depending on the number of defensive features built into the design, which raises interesting conflicting issues of public safety contrasted to vulnerability to property inundation in operational (say, 1 in 100 chance) floods.
The authors have designed and supervised over 30 flood detention reservoirs in the UK in the last 20 years. This paper describes the engineering decisions which need to be made regarding defensive measures and the resilience of these structures to withstand flood loading on demand. Examples of measures to include resilience are described, with discussion of when selection of the options to increase resilience against a particular failure mode should be mandatory, and when it may be more appropriate to consider it on a case by case risk-based approach. The paper will also discuss more strategic issues of how to balance making flood detention reservoirs affordable, while at the same time maintaining high standards of public safety and compares Australian and UK approaches.
The majority of Australian tailings dams over the last 100 years have been successfully built using upstream construction. However, recent major tailings dam failures in some countries have led to a global industry wide review of the design and management of tailings storage facilities, with a focus on the upstream raise method as a common factor for some failures. As a reaction to the recent failures, there is the potential for regulations to become more restrictive and the potential for unjustified pressure on existing and new mines to rule out upstream raising due to possible safety and failure risks.
This paper looks at whether it is the upstream construction method or other more fundamental issues that have led to these failures and examines whether such issues are equally relevant in Australia. Does Australia have a specific advantage in being able to successfully use upstream tailings dam construction or are we fooling ourselves?
The topic of upstream tailings storage is a subject of broad and current interest and the lessons learned from historic failures are rightfully leading to improvements. Implementation of good practice starts with the overall management structure that guides how tailings dams are designed, constructed, operated and closed.
Critical design practice involves understanding the unique site conditions, properties of the tailings and management of tailings placement, as the tailings form part of the overall retaining structure. Good practice during operation of upstream tailings dams is key to reducing the risk of tailings dam failures and the success of safe and sustainable closure.
This paper presents key features of both good and bad practice for the upstream raising of tailings dams and discusses how the design and operation can be made more resilient to ensure the safety of the community and infrastructure. It concludes that upstream raising can be a safe and economical method of tailings disposal if designed, constructed and operated correctly.