Ryan Cantrill, Petros Armenis & Angus Cannon
Large Australian dams span a range of ages and were designed and constructed to the prevailing
standards and practices of the day. Since that time, there has been a veritable explosion in monitoring and surveillance technologies available to dam owners to assist with risk management of their portfolio. Coupled with this has been the formalization and ongoing development of regulatory frameworks across the industry.
This paper endeavours to share Sunwater’s recent experience on this topic. Specifically, the following question is considered – how best to apply modern monitoring and surveillance technologies to manage dam safety risks associated with decades old structures, all while still meeting regulatory requirements? In answering this question, the authors necessarily had to consider several inputs including – physical condition of the existing assets; analysis of existing controls and mitigation measures; risk assessment and risk profile of the assets; and operational constraints. As always, outputs invariably required the prioritization of recommendations.
While dam owners must strive to comply with a standard and accepted way of managing their portfolio, it is vital they recognize and address the unique risks that each structure presents. It therefore follows that owners must be prepared to allow the time and provide the necessary resources when formulating a monitoring and surveillance program commensurate with the dam safety risk that their respective portfolio presents
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Richard Mannix, Michael Cawood, Joseph Matthews, Siraj Perera
Guidance material available to dam owners both domestically and internationally on testing dam safety emergency plans (DSEP) and running exercises is relatively general in nature. Guidance specific to dams that assists owners to design risk informed exercise scenarios tailored to their dam(s) total risk profile and the broader context in which the consequences of dam and operational safety failures would materialise, is limited.
This paper presents a framework that guides dam owners through a progressive scenario development process that enables the systematic identification of both dam and operational safety matters that require exploration as part of DSEP exercising. This level of rigour in guidance material has, until now, been missing and is particularly relevant in the context of dam owners demonstrating due diligence and SFAIRP imperatives while also bringing dam safety management closer to achieving the safety case.
Damien Bryan, John Sukkar, Erin Hughes, Michael Cawood
Alert triggers are a critical component of Dam Safety Emergency Management, aligning clearly defined adverse conditions with alert levels to initiate an appropriate emergency response. Early detection of these conditions allows for potential mitigation measures to be undertaken, early engagement of key stakeholders such as emergency agencies, and where necessary, the warning or evacuation of affected downstream communities. The Dam Safety Alert Trigger Framework provides WaterNSW with a consistent, repeatable, and defensible methodology for the determination of appropriate dam safety alert triggers. The framework was developed through the engagement of consultants, emergency and regulatory agencies (NSW SES & DSNSW), and several Australian large dam owners.
The determination of appropriate Dam Safety Alert Triggers is a challenge faced by all dam owners. Through the development and implementation of the Alert Trigger Framework, WaterNSW has achieved the ability to define defensible alert triggers through a consistent and repeatable methodology. This has resulted in an improved dam safety emergency response posture for WaterNSW, key emergency services partner the NSW SES, and greater protection for affected downstream communities. Concepts, processes and methodology covered in this paper could be used by other dam owners in addressing their own dam safety alert trigger challenges.
Management of dams requires the use of experienced dam engineers and other competent personnel familiar with all relevant basic principles, technical guidelines, articles and manuals. This requires appropriate qualifications, registrations and adequate knowledge and experience relevant to the type of dam and the task required.
Engineering services in Queensland must comply with the Professional Engineers Act 2002 which requires a registered professional engineer of Queensland (RPEQ) to undertake or directly supervise an engineering service. Attributes in addition to RPEQ are recommended for personnel responsible for dam safety management. Inputs are often required from non -engineering technical specialists, such as geologists. Supervising these inputs in the context of meeting the Professional Engineers Act 2002 should be considered.
A matrix of skills for dam safety management personnel has been prepared as part of the Queensland dam safety management guideline and subject to extensive stakeholder feedback in its preparation. The matrix consists of a list of roles typically required for dam safety management and, for each role, a corresponding set of recommended core attributes.
Olle Wennstrom, Andrew White
Over the last few years tailings dams have come under increased scrutiny, partly due to two highly publicised TSF failures in South America, but also because of several other incidents in Australia and elsewhere in the world. As investors came under pressure to positively impact the projects they financed, the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM) was released in August 2020.
Topic 5 of GISTM, “Emergency response and long-term recovery”, comprises Principle 13: “Prepare for emergency response to tailings facility failures” and Principle 14: “Prepare for long-term recovery in the event of catastrophic failure”. The topic further introduces the term “Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan” (EPRP).
This paper explains what the term “Emergency Preparedness” means and how the owner/operator of a mine can achieve it. The paper also delivers a concept for long-term recovery planning.
Claudia Smith, Shannon Dooland, Adam Broit, Rachel Jensen, Samantha Watt
The estimation of real consequences from dam failure that directly link to the overall likelihood of the failure is a challenging task, particularly in data sparse locations. Previous regional methods have often relied on simplistic assumptions without consideration of the true joint probability of the volume of flow in the downstream tributaries of concurrent catchments. As a result, concurrent downstream flooding directly impacting the consequence in dam break assessment scenarios may be misrepresented. More recently, the adoption of streamflow-based joint probability has become the standard, particularly where consequence estimation is used within the context of risk assessment. This paper progresses the work completed by others to establish a practical treatment method based on rainfall analysis where suitable streamflow information is unavailable. A case study is also presented where this method has improved the understanding of the risk profile associated with a coastal storage based on a better estimate of the likely flood concurrence within the storage and downstream catchments.