Mark Pearse, John Pisaniello, Sam Banzi, Peter Hill
A completely new dam safety regulation framework was introduced into NSW in November 2019. The new framework addresses all aspects of dam safety management. The implications for dam owners in respect of risk reduction measures (RRMs) that will need to be undertaken have been the matter of debate and are the focus of this paper. The Dams Safety Regulation 2019 requires that dam owners eliminate or reduce the risk posed by their dams but “only so far as is reasonably practicable” (SFAIRP). This is a change from the previous Dams Safety Committee requirement that risks should be reduced as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP). The previous guidance around the extent and timing of risk reduction has been removed and dam owners are now required to determine what is ‘reasonably practicable’. These changes were anticipated to save hundreds of millions of dollars from the reduced cost of risk reduction measures across the state of NSW. These savings appear unlikely to materialise given that dam owners are likely to be highly cognisant of the need to meet the common law expectation that RRMs should be implemented unless the costs associated with the RRMs are grossly disproportionate to the benefits gained. The key changes in the new regulatory framework are identified along with the legal and financial implications in regard to RRMs followed by next steps that should be considered by dam owners in NSW. Many of the implications are applicable to other dam owners who operate under common law (including all states of Australia and New Zealand).
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Shane McGrath, Mark Arnold, Josh Rankin, Gavan Hunter
Greenvale Dam is a critical storage for the supply of potable water to Melbourne. The dam had been upgraded through current risk management techniques, and an ALARP assessment completed at that time. However, it was decided that a more comprehensive demonstration of ALARP was warranted to satisfy the dam owner’s duty of care. Since there is no comprehensive guidance in the dams industry for owners and their advisors to reference, the safety case approach used extensively in other hazardous industries was adopted. Considering the approaches used by Victoria’s Worksafe, the Institution of Engineers Australia and the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), the key components of the safety case for Greenvale dam were identified then developed to provide a logical, structured and comprehensive argument for the safety of Greenvale Dam. This paper provides an overview of components of the safety case developed for Greenvale Dam, the use of safety cases for dams and where process improvements could be made.
Michael Ashley, John Phillips
New guidance and publications relating to tailings dams have been released recently by many jurisdictions across the world as an initial response to recent, well-documented, catastrophic tailings dam failures. The application of new guidelines retrospectively to existing tailings projects can introduce complex challenges, especially for sites with a long and often not well documented history. Challenges can be difficult to overcome while balancing time, cost and risk objectives.
This paper explores the impacts of changes between the 2012 and 2019 revisions of the ANCOLD Guidelines on Tailings Dams and potential implications for existing facilities.
The most significant update between the 2012 and 2019 revisions of the guidelines relating to design practices is the additional detail and guidance on seismic stability analyses and static liquefaction. Guidance on the application of new guidelines for tailings dam designers, owners and regulators is required to provide a consistent approach to manage the risk.
Neeta Arora, Prashant Agrawal, Yogendra Deva, Ravi Kumar
The tectono-lithologic complexities and the accompanying extreme mass wasting processes make the Himalaya a difficult terrain for river valley development projects envisaging dams and other diversion structures. Besides exceptionally thick riverbed deposits leading to management of deep foundations, abutting the dams often poses challenges in view of difficult ground conditions. The paper looks at three scenarios where the presence of highly decomposed strata, slumped mass and unconsolidated riverbed material led to serious problems in abutting the dams and invariably delayed the project completion. The design approach to special abutment issues is discussed in the light of investigations, explorations, laboratory and field tests, etc. In conclusion, while dependable engineering geological mapping and assessment is considered the backbone, innovative investigations and engineering play crucial role in successful implementation of projects.
James Thorp, Ryan Singh, Jiri Herza
Responsible management and operation of tailings and water storage facilities comprises a series of activities and projects that must be delivered within the commercial realities of the organisation and operation context of the facility owner. All projects are constrained by several variables, which are commonly represented by the Project Management Triangle of Scope, Time, and Cost. These variables are often finite and mutually exclusive, and delivery of the required outcome is accomplished by successfully managing each variable. The activities (variables) associated with the long-term dam safety are sometimes omitted to meet the immediate project requirements. In addition, the commercial realities, such as a selected project delivery model, can have a significant impact on dam safety risks through the allocation of risk, ability of the key decision makers, and the undue commercial pressures applied by each project delivery model. This paper presents several case studies where the project and commercial realities have led to decision making that impacted dam safety and increased the risk presented by the storage facility. While the immediate impact of these decisions may appear to be minimal, all stages of a tailings or water storage facility’s life span are impacted. This paper presents learnt lessons with the aim to prompt both owners and consultants to reconsider their commercial processes and project delivery strategies and limit unforeseen risks to the safety of tailings or water dams.
Matthias WILD, James STEWART, Chris IRVIN, Sander Van Ameijde
The awareness of safe and sustainable utilisation of all forms of construction such as bridges, tunnels, dams or industrial buildings during its whole lifetime is increasing more and more. The safe operation of our dams is of critical importance to society. As our assets age, the focus on monitoring, control systems and lifespan management is of increasing importance. Communities need to have peace of mind these assets are not going to fail. To prevent failures of structures, a common method is for periodical or situational site visits to check the crucial points of construction. Site visits are cost intensive, subjective and non-continuous. This results in a global research focus on measurement devices and evaluation systems to generate a full structural health monitoring system which guarantees measurement and data evaluation adapted for the specific application over the full lifespan.
For important structures like the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant or Australian Dam structures it’s not just the inspection costs and a sustainably utilisation during service life that are important. The safety during operation of the nuclear power plant is also critical to its operation. To monitor the deep excavation at the power plant DYWIDAG provided geotechnical systems combined with measurement sensors and a monitoring concept for the lifespan of the structure. About 14,000 soil nails and bar anchors are stabilising the excavation. Movements of the retaining wall will lead to a change of stress in the geotechnical tension members. This change is monitored by DYNA-Force Sensors, which are used for load monitoring. This monitoring system has been used successfully in a range of critical structures like stadium roof-beams, staycables, dam-anchors with strands or bars.
A simple installation and read out of sensors is not a major facilitation compared to site visits. The implementation of sensors in a sophisticated monitoring system is the big advantage of structural health monitoring which guarantees a safe and sustainable utilisation of the construction. DYWIDAG is making infrastructure lifespan management smarter and offers a cloud-based online sensor management system (Platform Interactive) which enables processing of large volumes of sensor data and performing complex calculations. It provides real-time alerting, presenting the information in an innovative and interactive way, removing subjective interpretation and providing numerical data online in real time. Platform Interactive with plug and play pre-configured sensors, may also be adapted and applied for a range of SHM projects. It provides continuous reporting and the reassurance structures are performing as they should without the possibility of failure. At DYWIDAG we are making infrastructure lifespan management smarter, safer, stronger