Ryan Singh, Jiri Herza, James Thorp
Recent and continual failures of tailings storage facilities (TSFs), often resulting in catastrophic consequences, has led to calls for action from the industry, stakeholders and the public at large. Several standards and guidelines are being prepared at the time of writing, most notably a Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM), with the overall objective to reduce the rate of TSF failures globally. While better guidelines are certainly necessary, there are requirements that must be carefully followed in developing a document that has the ambition to become a standard. If such requirements are not fulfilled, the document can become ineffective or potentially have the opposite result to that which was intended. This paper discusses whether or not the GISTM meets the requirements of the standards and analyses the potentially negative impacts of its implementation on the industry and wider society. Based on this analysis, this paper provides several recommendations for improvements that should be considered by the GISTM panel and other working groups preparing standards and guidelines.
Gideon Steyl, Ralph Holding, Lis Boczek
A Monte Carlo method for assessing liner systems is applied with outcomes demonstrating the range of discharge that could occur over the liner interface. The Monte Carlo approach allows for variation of fill material over the liner system and includes the assessment of a second compacted zone either above or below the liner zone. In this paper clay liners were evaluated due to regulatory guidelines and it could be demonstrated that similar performance to a 1 m clay liner could be attained using compacted material to reduce discharge over the liner interface. The approach applied in this paper allows for at least a worst-case quantification of seepage risk which could be included in liner selection criteria or presenting liner options to regulators.
Richard M Robinson, Siraj Perera, Gaye Francis
Due diligence has become endemic in Australian legislation and in case law, to the point that it has become, in the philosopher Immanuel Kant’s terms, a categorical imperative. That is, our lawmakers seem to have decided that due diligence is universal in its application and creates a moral justification for action. This also means the converse, that failure to act demands sanction against the failed decision maker.
This applies to dam safety management which represents the archetypical high consequence – low likelihood event. It is now essential to have positively demonstrated safety due diligence in a way that can withstand post-event judicial scrutiny. Presently the only way this can be done is by using the notion of criticality and precaution, not hazard and risk. The test is not that of risk acceptability (as low as reasonably practicable or ALARP), rather it is that no further reasonably practicable precautions (so far as is reasonably practicable or SFAIRP) are available, and that what results is not prohibitively dangerous.
This paper will document the difference between the two approaches and how to positively demonstrate safety due diligence. It also discusses the definition of ALARP as stated in ANCOLD’s Guidelines on Risk Assessment 2003 and the relevance of the safety case principle for dam safety management.
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.
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
Andrew Northfield, Peter Hill, Muhammad Hameed, Hench Wang, Sam Banzi
In 2018 WaterNSW undertook a Portfolio Risk Assessment (PRA) for 20 dams across the greater Sydney area.
This paper describes the estimation of consequences for this large and diverse portfolio of dams. For some dams the population at risk were greater than 100,000 people whereas for others there were no permanent PAR which required the careful consideration of itinerants. This diversity of the dams required that the approach for estimating the consequences be tailored to the specific characteristics. For example, the approaches for estimating the potential loss of life (PLL) varied from a detailed simulation model (HECLifeSim) to a simpler empirical approach (Reclamation Consequence Estimation Methodology (USBR, 2014) to bespoke consideration of itinerant campers and users of walking tracks. For some dams the economic costs were driven by direct infrastructure costs whereas for other the indirect costs dominated the total economic cost for failure.