Paul S. Meeks
In June 2008 a young girl kayaking at a hydroelectric control dam owned by Alcan in Quebec Canada, tragically drowned when she was swept through the open spillgates. The public safety boat barrier, installed the year before, failed to prevent this accident. In June 2015, Stephen Hembree took his daughter and 7 of her friends out for a pontoon boat ride on Lake Linganore to celebrate her 16th birthday. A short time later, Mr. Hembree was dead while his daughter and her friends were be rescued by helicopter as they clung to boulders in the spillway. Contrast these incidents to one in March 2017, when the public safety boat barrier installed by Alliant Energy at Kilbourn Dam was credited with preventing the loss of life after a woman fell into the river above the dam. What went wrong in the first 2 instances and what can we learn from the third incident? What steps can dam owners take to prevent accidents like these from happening?
The first two incidents represent preventable loss of life at a dam while the third incident proves how a proactive approach to public safety results in reduced liability for dam owners and lower loss of life. In the Alcan instance, the public safety barrier installed to prevent this very scenario was instead installed in a location that doomed the girl even before she set her kayak in the water. The second instance demonstrates how a dam owners lack of risk awareness coupled with a boat owners carelessness resulted in a fatality.
Using the incidents above, this presentation, modeled after the Canadian Dam Associations Guidelines for Public Safety Around Dams, will educate owners and operators how to identify “dangerous” zones above and below dams. We will consider the effects of surface water velocity of individual survivability and barrier effectiveness. Flow-3D models will be shown to illustrate the effect of barrier alignment and velocity to increase an individual’s ability to “self-rescue”. Lastly, we will integrate within the presentation practical guidelines for the use of signage, sign size, lettering height and message consistency. The presentation will conclude by examining lessons learned in the Alcan incident and presenting how a proper public safety barrier and signage plan would be implemented.
More people have died from accidents around dams than have died from dam failures. The Canadian Dam Association published its guidelines in 2011 and the result has seen a significant reduction in fatalities and injuries as a result of recreating around Canadian Dams. The United States Society on Dams (USSD), the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) all have embarked on efforts, modeled in large part around the CDA Guidelines to bring Public Safety out of the dam safety toolbox so Public Safety is viewed as a separate managed system. This is being conducted in an effort to educate and alert dam owners, operators and recreational users to hazards and risks in and around dams.
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There is increased pressure from stakeholders for projects to include evaluation of emerging broader development issues within the environmental assessment process. These emerging issues are not well documented or understood and at the forefront of untested preliminary government policy positions.
Agencies expect proponents to invest in evaluating these matters outside of typical assessment practices. Requests are made late in the evaluation and approval process.Assessmen involves matters not directly related to the project or within the proponent’s control and occurs late in the project development cycle.
The Lower Fitzroy River Infrastructure Project (LFRIP) was identified through the Central Queensland Regional Water Supply Study in 2006, as a solution to secure future water supplies for the Rockhampton, Capricorn Coast and Gladstone regions. The Gladstone Area Water Board and SunWater Limited, as proponents, propose to raise the existing Eden Bann Weir and construct a new weir at Rookwood on the Fitzroy River in Central Queensland.
The LFRIP environmental impact statement (EIS) was approved, subject to conditions, by the Queensland Coordinator-General in December 2016 and the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Energy in February 2017. Achieving conditions that will realise positive environmental outcomes while simultaneously achieving project objectives, particularly with regard to timeframes and costs, was not without its challenges.
The EIS was developed in accordance with the requirements of the State Development Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (Qld) and the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, including an extensive stakeholder consultation programme. These regulatory requirements are well understood and applied to projects as normal accepted practice. They ensured that potential project impacts and benefits were identified, that appropriate levels of effort were applied to investigations to establish baseline conditions and that risks to and impacts on environmental (including social and cultural) matters were adequately mitigated and managed.
The environment is not static. Emerging issues and perceptions results in regulation and policy changes in response to political and social drivers. During the development of the EIS both new legislation and new policies were imposed on the project.New legislation resulted in additional assessment around matters previously considered mitigated and managed (fish passage). New legislation introduced new matters for assessment (connectivity). Collaboration and engagement with stakeholders were key to understanding the applicability of these elements to the project and for developing an approach to address the legislative requirements late in the project’s development and assessment process.
In Queensland,policy is emerging to mitigate and manage impacts of development on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area’s universal values. The EIS was required to address the direct project impacts on water quality and the impacts arising because of the LFRIP (facilitated development). Water secured by the LFRIP is for urban, industrial and agricultural purposes. Urban and industrial developments are well regulated and subject to specific environmental approvals processes. Use of water for agricultural purposes, intensive irrigated agriculture in particular,is less regulated. Policies developed are reactive and require individual projects to address these impacts.In the absence of regulatory guidelines for assessment of consequential impacts, the project adopted a collaborative approach. The proponents established a working group, including State and Commonwealth technical agencies. This allowed for robust and scientifically defendable methodologies to be developed and agreed upfront. Streamlining the approach by including key decision makers assisted in managing expectations and focused the assessment on realistic and achievable outcomes relative to the project. The result was defendable outcomes allowing timely decision making and avoided rework as much as possible.
This paper describes developments in environmental assessment relating to new and augmented weirs.
Peyman Andaroodi, Barton Maher
Seqwater is a statutory authority of the Government of Queensland that provides bulk water storage, transport and treatment, water grid management and planning, catchment management and flood mitigation services to the South East Queensland region of Australia. Seqwater also provides irrigation services to about 1,200 rural customers in the region that are not connected to the grid and provides recreation facilities. Seqwater owns and operates 26 referable dams regulated under Queensland dam safety legislation.
Leslie Harrison Dam is an Extreme Hazard category dam located in the Redland Bay area of Brisbane.A significant portion of Population at Risk is located within a short distance downstream of the dam, reducing the available warning time in the event of a dam safety issue and impacting on the estimated loss of life used to assess risk. Following the Portfolio Risk Assessment undertaken by Seqwater in 2013, a series of detailed investigations were undertaken to confirm the assessed risk and the scope and urgency of the upgrade works.
Before a final decision on the scope and timing of the dam upgrade is made, Seqwater has completed a detailed review of the downstream consequences. This review was intended to update the Population at Risk(PAR) and Potential Loss of Life(PLL) estimates using the latest estimation methods for a range of scenarios. Three life loss estimation methods were used including empirical and dynamic simulation models and the results were compared.
This paper discusses the updated consequences assessment and the impact on the assessed risks, for Leslie Harrison Dam for both the current dam and the proposed upgrade scenarios using the revised Potential Loss of Life estimates.
Elaine Pang, Robert Fowden
There are numerous established methods available for assessing the consequences of failure for earthen water dams.The estimation of breach dimensions and failure times remains the greatest common area of uncertainty, particularly for dams under 10m in height, where the number of historic records behind the established methods reduces considerably.Also, various factors can have a significant impact on the strength of small dam embankments, potentially contributing to the likelihood of failure.Consequently, failure impact assessments for smaller dams may rely more heavily on the engineering judgement of the responsible engineer. Although the consequences of failure may indeed be lower for smaller dams, the large number of unknown or unregulated dams in some locations means that it can be difficult to quantify their overall contribution in terms of dam safety risk. This paper presents an on-going project to compile and analyse observed small earthen dam failures with the intent of refining existing statistical breach relationships for smaller dams.Context is provided through an overview of DEWS’ investigative program, including the presentation of several case studies which highlight field data collected throughout the program.
Shayan Maleki, James Apostolidis, Tom Ewing, Virgilio Fiorotto
The stability analysis of dam spillways and stilling basin chutes requires the knowledge of the spatially fluctuating pressure at the bottom of the structure with reference to the large vortex system with dimensions comparable with the structure characteristic length of the order O (0.1 –1 m). In this context only the small frequency pressure fluctuations (smaller than 1 –10 hz in prototype) must be analyzed in Large Eddy Simulation (LES)context; while the higher frequency pressure fluctuations could be filtered given their negligible importance in relation to stability computations with reference to the spatial Taylor macroscale and fluctuating pressure variance evaluation. These two quantities allow us to define the variance of the force acting on the structure, and as a consequence via statistical analysis, the design force on the structure. This procedure is historically performed via.physical hydraulic modelling (PHM)where these quantities are measured in a laboratory setup. Considering the limits of.current industry approach to Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), the use of Detached Eddy Simulation (DES) could become a valid low cost solution and could potentially be a valid method to perform preliminary studies in order to refine the design while avoiding expensive physical model modifications. In this paper, the pressure field at the base of a rectangular impinging jet is measured in laboratory flume setup and is compared with the numerical results obtained via equivalent DES simulations conducted in CFD.Maximum values and the structure of spatial correlation of the anisotropic field of fluctuating pressures are described in view of their relevance to the structural design of the lining of spillway stilling basins and other dissipations structures,as well as in view of their relevance to rock stability analysis. The comparison of the laboratory study with DES simulations presented in this paper shows a good agreement indicating.that this approach may eventually provide a lower.cost substitute for physical model studies in the design of stilling basins and plunge pools.However,it is acknowledged that virtually all stilling basins and plunge pools present a three-dimensional hydraulics complexity, and numerous.further studies need to be done.
Gavan Hunter, David Jeffery and Stephen Chia
The Main Embankment at Tullaroop Dam in central Victoria is a 43 m high earthfill embankment with a very broad earthfill zone and rockfill zones at the outer toe regions. There has been an extensive history of cracking within the Main Embankment since formalisation of visual inspections in 1987.Widespread cracking has been observed on the crest and downstream shoulder. Cracking on the crest has mainly been longitudinal, but transverse cracks have also been observed. Cracking on the downstream shoulder has comprised longitudinal, diagonal and transverse cracking. In April 2004, a 60 mm wide diagonal crack opened on the downstream shoulder of the left abutment (from crest to toe) and Goulburn-Murray Water constructed a local filter buttress in 2005/06 on the left abutment. In 2011/12 a longitudinal crack opened up on the upper downstream berm toward the right abutment. The crack was initially 15m long and 10 to 215 mm wide, then propagated several months later to 70 m in length, 40 to 50 mm width and greater than 3 m in depth.In May 2011 three piezometers within the earth fill core recorded a very rapid rise in pore water pressure equivalent to 12 to 13 m pressure head above their previous readings. The piezometers were located on the same alignment (upstream to downstream) and were located below the crest and downstream shoulder, and the rise was to levels close to and above the embankment surface. The piezometers then showed a steady fall with time returning to the pre rise levels after 4 to 6 weeks.In 2015/16 Goulburn-Murray Water undertook dam safety upgrade works to reduce the risk of piping through the Main Embankment by extension of the filter buttress across the full width of the embankment. During these upgrade works, very deep (greater than 5 m) and extensive transverse cracks were observed in the embankment over relatively subtle slope changes on the right abutment.Thecracking and pore water pressure behaviour in the Main Embankment at Tullaroop Reservoir present an important case study. The paper provides details on the cracking and postulated crack mechanisms, and the rapid pore water pressure rise and postulated mechanisms. A summary of the upgrade works is also provided.