Many quantified risk assessments finish the failure mode event tree at the estimated occurrence of an embankment breach leading to dam failure outflows and downstream consequences. In some situations, for dams with multiple embankments with potentially different consequences downstream of each embankment, the possibility for further breaches may be pertinent if there may potentially be higher consequences for a multiple breach scenario. The location of an initial breach and sequence of subsequent breaches could also result in different contributions to total risk.
This paper discusses a method applied to investigate the conditional probability of flood overtopping breaches for multiple earth-fill embankments with grass covered downstream slopes.
For the subject dam, preliminary modelling identified that for a flood overtopping breach of an embankment the breach’s development may not be sufficient to reduce the lake level and sustained overtopping flow over the remaining embankment crests could lead to further embankment breaches.
A Monte Carlo dam breach simulation modelling approach was used with a large number of flood events. The simulation modelling considered erosion initiation for a grass slope due to the combination of velocity and duration of flow, and erosion continuing to breach based on duration of flow after erosion initiation. Potential uncertainty of erosion initiation and erosion continuing to breach were represented with probability distributions in the Monte Carlo modelling.
The results from the large number of dam breach simulations were then analysed with post processing to derive conditional probabilities for single or multiple breaches and breach sequence.
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The importance of building and maintaining safe, resilient tailings dams has become increasingly apparent with the rise in catastrophic failures in recent years. According to the World Mine Tailings Failures (WMTF) data base, 11 major failures have occurred over the past decade, often with devastating impacts to nearby communities in terms of loss of life and impact to the environment. With the occurrence of these types of events only expected to increase in coming years, there has been a corresponding increase in global calls to action to develop monitoring systems to better predict and wherever possible, prevent these failures from occurring.
With up to an estimated 20,000 tailings dams around the world, the development and implementation of a worldwide monitoring protocol is a daunting task, particularly as many of these structures are remote and difficult to access. This is where a technology like InSAR can make an immediate impact. InSAR is a remote sensing technique that uses radar satellite imagery to measure ground movement with up to millimetric precision. Radar systems are active, meaning they collect information from reflections of the radar signal off the ground and therefore do not require the installation of any equipment. As satellite images cover areas that extend thousands of square kilometres, they can provide information not only on the stability of dams, but also entire regions. Global archives already exist due to the Sentinel constellation of satellites, which provide coverage since 2014 over most parts of the world.
In an ideal world, tailings dams are safe and constructed to provide permanent containment of mining by- products. However, experience has shown that they can fail, often with dire consequences, especially if these failures occur without warning. The development of an internationally accepted standard for tailings dam monitoring is imperative to ensure the safety and resiliency of these structures is continuously tracked. This paper explores the role InSAR can play in the development of a global protocol for tailings dam monitoring.
The ANCOLD (2003) Guidelines on Risk Assessment contain criteria regarding the tolerable level of individual risk from dam failure. Maslin et al. (2012) describe an approach to estimating individual risk from dam failure, using exposure factors, warning and evacuation factors, and fatality factors. These factors vary according to the people at risk, the anticipated warning time, the flood severity and the shelter people are likely to be in. Maslin et al. (2012) provide step-by-step instructions, which means their approach can be applied in a consistent manner from dam to dam. However, the recommended fatality factors are based on Graham (1999) and DHS (2011) definitions of high, medium and low severity flooding which have been superseded by the Reclamation Consequence Estimating Methodology (RCEM). Therefore, in this paper modifications to the Maslin et al. (2012) approach are proposed, so that estimates of individual risk from dam failure are consistent with RCEM-based estimates of societal risk. The paper then concludes with two predictions about how the assessment and use of individual risk in Australian dam safety management may change in future.
Identification of people impacted by a hypothetical dam-break flood is required to understand the potential hazard a dam poses to downstream communities. The New Zealand Dam Safety Guidelines and the Australian Consequence Categories for Dams define these people collectively as the “Population at Risk” (PAR) and recommend that evaluation of PAR should include both permanent and temporary populations. However, there is limited guidance on specific methods to determine these populations. This paper provides an outline of an evidence-based, repeatable method to determine the PAR (both permanent and temporary) within a dam-break flood inundation zone. The method is intended to provide guidance for people tasked with estimating PAR in accordance with the New Zealand Dam Safety Guidelines. The methodology provides a current practice framework for users to apply and estimate the PAR in a clear and defendable manner.
The purpose of this paper is to document a limited review of the existing concrete chute spillways in the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) portfolio of dams. This internal review was undertaken in response to the partial spillway failure of the Oroville Dam concrete chute spillway in February 2017, the partial spillway failure of the Guajataca Dam concrete chute spillway as a result of Hurricane Maria in September 2017, and to address the request by the United States Congress for USACE, United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), and the Federal Energy and Regulatory Commission (FERC) to review their respective portfolios for similar spillway vulnerabilities as Oroville Dam. The intent was to screen for existing concrete chute spillways within the USACE portfolio that may be susceptible to damage/failure during operation.
Trustpower’s Mahinerangi Dam in New Zealand’s South Island is a concrete arch and gravity abutment dam built in 1931, subsequently raised in 1946 and strengthened with tie-down anchors in 1961.
This paper discusses a 3D finite element analysis of the dam and the predicted performance of the arch section under Safety Evaluation Earthquake (SEE) loading against identified potential failure modes.
Current guidelines and recent seismic hazard assessments recommend earthquake loadings higher than what was originally accounted for in previous decades. A Comprehensive Safety Review identified stability under SEE loading as a potential deficiency, so a programme of works was commenced to evaluate and better understand the seismic risk by using modern day tools and technology to evaluate the dam against current performance standards.
The final model incorporated the results of extensive laboratory testing, high-resolution LiDAR survey data and dynamic calibration using ambient-vibration monitoring. Motion recordings across the face of the dam during the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake were also used to validate the model. The reservoir has been explicitly modelled together with the opening, closing and sliding of contraction joints and the foundation interface. This allowed the modelling of permanent displacements and the redistribution of loads within the dam under SEE loading, which had been shown to be an important behaviour from the previous stages of analysis.