— OR —
One of the most important issues during design and construction of an earthfill dam is how to secure a dam against unwanted events which may occur as a result of water flow (uncontrolled seepage, leakage & piping) through the dam.
Although earthfill dams are the largest by volume compared with other types of dams and they are designed to cope with seepage, their integrity is most sensitive to the effects which may be caused by it. The reason being that the earthfill materials are generally extremely heterogeneous and only one “unwanted” pocket is enough to create problems.
Another critical area is the foundation. In many situations it is not possible to avoid the complex geology which includes faults and joints as part of the foundation. An additional complication may be the presence of dispersive clay in the foundation.
In the area of tailings dams, the problems with seepage are slightly reduced as in most cases, tailings provide a degree of sealing. Tailings dams are very often designed as leaky dams. However, there is a hidden danger in approaching the design this way as at any stage of their lives they can retain water.
This paper presents two case histories of repairs carried out to tailings dams suffering leakage. One case describes leakage through the embankment wall while the other describes seepage through the foundation which contains dispersive soil.
Raymond A. Stewart
On I7 June 1996 while investigating a small pothole on the crest 183 m high Bennett Dam an unexpected crest collapse occurred resulting in a large sinkhole. Following this incident the safety status of the dam was uncertain. The reservoir was lowered by 2 m over a six week period by spilling up to 5,000 m 3 over the spillway and through the turbines.
An unprecedented dam investigation commenced immediately and was completed December 1996. During drilling a second sinkhole was discovered at another location on the dam.
A sophisticated compaction grouting technique was developed to remediate the sinkholes to the depth of 5 m and the work was successfully completed by 1997. -The reservoir was returned to service in time to collect the freshet in spring 1997. This event was the most dam safety concern in the history of BC Hydro operations.
This paper describes how B.C. Hydro managed the crisis, and the subsequent safety assessment.
Over the last 30 years, the demand for water storages in Queensland’s Mary’s River has grown significantly. As a result of this growth in demand it was decided to raise Borumba Dam, the major storage on the system, in two stages The first stage was to be approximately 2 metres in I997 and the 25 metre raising be required in about 2010.
Borumba Dam was completed in 1964. It is a 43 metre high concrete faced dam with a 32 metre long on the left abutment. The first proposal for initial raising was to install a two metre high air-inflated rubber dam on top of the existing crest. However, it was determined that this method of raising presented a number of prob and a new solution was sought.
M Scuero and Gabriella L Vaschetti
The use of watertight synthetic geomembranes as waterproofing and protection elements for all types of dams started in Europe in the late 1950s and has since been widely applied all over the world as long term repair measure, or as the only element providing watertightness since the design and construction stage.
I A Howley, G S Smith and D J A Stewart
Over the past decade the role of dam ownership in Victoria, and indeed Australia, has changed from one of owners, constructors and operators of large civil assets, to managers of structures on behalf of owners of the entitlements to water. This is part of the key business focus to dams management in Victoria.
This position has been heavily influenced by regional water reform policies, such as the Murray Darling Cap, and its effects in Northern Victoria, and COAG Agreements.
Dam owners now run service driven businesses, with a clear separation of roles and responsibilities from the traditional, engineering focused organisations which were established in an environment of resource development. The environment is now one of maintenance, service delivery, structure maintenance and long term business viability for ultimate community benefit.
By using Goulburn-Murray Water as an example, the current model of dams management in Victoria is outlined, together with possible future directions for the rural water industry in Victoria.