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.
Dr Andy Hughes
Tailings dams continue to undergo failures at an unacceptable rate compared to water storage dams, including failures at operations owned by high profile mining companies.Tailings dams have often a different form and method of construction than water storage dams in that tailings dams continue to be raised over time as part of the mine operations and rise to considerable heights. These failures are often the result of a combination of design, construction and operations actions that are controlled by humans and must be better coordinated and managed in the future. The consequence of failure can be widespread flows of tailings and water over the landscape and water courses. This can have extreme consequences in terms of life loss, environmental damage, social license to operate, company value, and mining industry sustainability. Therefore,it is necessary that the mining industry strive for zero failures of tailings facilities. Any additional technology and information that enables an owner of a tailings dam to be more certain of its condition and thereby reduce the risk of failure is of tremendous value to reliable tailings and mine water management.The Willowstick method uses low voltage, low amperage, and alternating electrical current to directly energise the groundwater by way of electrodes placed in wells or in contact with seepage or leaks. This approach has been successfully used to identify water flow paths through, under and around tailings dam in plan and elevation.The Willowstick technology provides additional information to supplement the geological, geotechnical and hydrological, evaluations analyses and designs, and to further improve tailings dam safety by more robust designs if necessary. This paper, using several tailings dam case studies, illustrates the procedure, findings, and the benefits of the Willowstick methodology. The findings of many Willowstick surveys range from tailings dams where the methodology has confirmed the design evaluations, to tailings dams where new groundwater and leakage flow paths were identified. In the latter case, the dam designers were able to update the designs, based on the new information,to mitigate the identified risks and to improve the overall safety of the tailings dams in accordance with the goal of zero failure.
James Toose, Lelio Mejia, Jorge Fernandez
The recently completed Panama Canal Expansion project required construction of a new, 6.7-km-long channel at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, to provide navigation access from the new Post-Panamax locks to the existing Gaillard Cut section of the Canal. The new channel required construction of four new dams adjacent to the existing canal, referred to as Borinquen Dams 1E, 2E, 1W, and 2W. The dams retain Gatun Lake and the Canal waterway approximately 11 m above the level of Miraflores Lake and 27m above the Pacific Ocean.The largest of the dams, Dam 1E, is 2.4km long and up to 30 m high. The dam abuts against Fabiana Hill at the southern end, and against the original Pedro Miguel Locks at the northern end. This paper provides an overview of the key challenges in construction of Dam 1E including the foundation, seepage cut-offs and embankment.
Zivko R. Terzic, Mark C. Quigley, Francisco Lopez
The Mt Bold Dam, located in the Mt Lofty Ranges in South Australia, is a 54m high concrete arch-gravity dam that impounds Adelaide’s largest reservoir. The dam site is located less than 500m from a suspected surface rupture trace of the Willunga fault.Preliminary assessments indicate that Mt Bold Dam is likely to be the dam with the highest seismic hazard in Australia, with the Flinders Ranges-Mt Lofty region experiencing earthquakes of sufficient magnitude to generate shaking damage every 8-10 years on average. Prior evidence suggests that the Willunga Fault is likely capable of generating M 7-7.2 earthquakes.As part of the South Australia Water Corporation (SA Water) portfolio of dams, Mt Bold Dam is regularly reviewed against the up-to-date dam safety guidelines and standards. SA Water commissioned GHD to undertake detailed site-specific geophysics, geotechnical and geomorphological investigations, and a detailed site-specific Seismic Hazard Assessment (SHA) of the Mt Bold Dam area. The results of this investigation will be used to inform decisions related to planned upgrade works of the dam.Geomorphological mapping of Willunga Fault, detailed geological mapping, analysis of airborne lidar data, geophysical seismic refraction tomography and seismic reflection surveys,and paleoseismic trenching and luminescence dating of faulted sediments was conducted to obtain input parameters for the site-specific SHA.Discrete single-event surface rupture displacements were estimated at ~60 cm at dam-proximal sites. The mean long-term recurrence interval (~37,000 yrs) is exceeded by the quiescent period since the most recent earthquake (~71,000 yrs ago) suggesting long-term variations in rupture frequency and slip rates and/or that the fault is in the late stage of a seismic cycle. The length-averaged slip rate for the entire Willunga Fault is estimated at 38 ± 13 m / Myr. Shear wave velocity (Vs30) of the dam foundations was estimated based on geotechnical data and geological models developed from geophysical surveys and boreholes drilled through the dam and into the foundation rock. The nearest seismic refraction tomography (SRT) lines were correlated with the boreholes and those velocity values used in the Vs30 parameter determination. All relevant input parameters were included into seismic hazard analysis with comprehensive treatment of epistemic uncertainties using logic trees for all inputs.Deterministic Seismic Hazard Analysis (DSHA) confirmed that the controlling fault source for the Mt Bold Dam site is Willunga Fault, which is located very close to main dam site (420m to the West).For more frequent seismic events (1 in 150, 1 in 500 and 1 in 1,000 AEP), the probabilistic analysis indicates that the main seismic hazard on the dam originates from the area seismic sources (background seismicity).Based on deaggregation analysis from the site specific Probabilistic Seismic Hazard (PSHA), the earthquakes capable of generating level of ground motion for the 1 in 10,000 AEP event can be expected to occur at mean distances of approximately 22km from the dam site(with the mean expected magnitude atMt Bold Damsite estimated at Mw >6).For less frequent (larger) seismic events, the contribution of the Willunga Fault to the seismic hazard of Mt Bold Dam can be clearly noted with Mode distance in the 0-5 km range, which indicates that most of the seismic hazard events larger than the 1 in 10,000 AEP comes from the Willunga Fault. The Mode magnitudes of the events are expected to be Mode Magnitude at Mw= 6.6 for a segmented Willunga Fault scenario, and Mw= 7.2 for a non-segmented fault scenario.Consideration was also given to the upcoming update of the ANCOLD Guidelines for Earthquake, which calls for the determination of the Maximum Credible Earthquake (MCE) on known faults for the Safety Evaluation Earthquake (SEE) of “Extreme” consequence category dams. The MCE for Mt Bold Dam was estimated from the DSHA; in terms of acceleration amplitude, the MCE event approximately equals the 1 in 50,000AEP seismic events.
C.Jolly and J.Green
New rare design rainfalls were released for Australia in February 2017, for durations from one to seven days and probabilities from 1in 100Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) up to 1 in 2000 AEP.The differences between the previous rare design rainfalls using estimated Cooperative Research Centre –FOcussed Rainfall Growth Estimation (CRC-FORGE) method and the new rare design rainfall estimates vary with location, duration and probability. In this paper, these differences are explored spatially through the use of national maps, comparing percentage change between the two datasets for selected durations and probabilities. Before this comparison with the new rare design rainfalls could be completed, the State-basedestimates had to be resampled and aggregated to form a national data set for Australia.For rare design rainfalls, it is often the catchment values that are required to determine the gross rainfall for design purposes. The impact of the revised areal reductions factors and rare design rainfalls is explored through case study catchments in Tasmania.