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Jim Walker, Murray Gillon and John Grimston
Karapiro Dam is at the end of a cascade of hydropower dams on the Waikato River in New Zealand’s North Island. The 52m high, high hazard, arch dam retains the lake for a 96MW power station at its downstream toe. Safety reviews recommended a re-evaluation of the dam stability under seismic loading.
Dam owner, Electricity Corporation of New Zealand (ECNZ), commissioned consultants Tonkin & Taylor Ltd to carry out a series of studies and investigations which provided better understanding of the dam’s safety status. Investigations located a previously unrecorded continuous low strength thrust fault underlying the left abutment. This provided the potential for movement of the left abutment gravity blocks under earthquake loading, with adverse effects on arch dam and reservoir safety. Investigations showed the abutment cut off walls to be lower than the PMF lake level. High groundwater levels and erodible pumiceous soils were found at the left abutment. These findings prompted ECNZ to implement stability enhancement works.
This paper describes the studies and investigations, peer review process, and design and construction of enhancement works.Learn more
Lelio Mejia, Murray Gillon, Jim Walker, Tom Newson
This paper describes the criteria for developing seismic loads for the safety evaluation of dams of two New Zealand owners. The criteria were constrained to satisfy the requirements of the NZSOLD Dam Safety Guidelines and to be consistent with international practice in countries with levels of seismicity and socio-economic development similar to New Zealand. In selecting the criteria, dam seismic load standards from several countries were surveyed and summarized. The selected criteria follow a standards-based approach to the seismic safety evaluation of dams. Guidelines for the use of deterministic and probabilistic procedures to develop seismic loads were formulated as a function of the Potential Impact Classification of a dam. In addition to the traditional deterministic definition of evaluation earthquakes, the selected criteria allow the use of a probabilistic definition in cases where the deterministic definition yields very low probability evaluation events.Learn more
Ken Ho, Robert Davey and Jim Walker
The Aviemore Dam appurtenant structures were upgraded for seismic performance in 2006. A comprehensive dam safety review programme conducted by Meridian Energy evaluated the performance of the dam and appurtenant works under extreme ground movements and rupture displacements of the Waitangi Fault, which passes through the embankment dam foundation. The spillway and sluice gates are key elements of the dam safety critical plant for the passage of floods to prevent overtopping or emergency dewatering of the reservoir after a major seismic event if there are concerns about damage to the dam. This paper outlines the assessment undertaken for the spillway and sluice gates for seismic performance and the upgrade necessary to safeguard their integrity for operation after the event.
The spillway and sluice gates are large steel radial gates operated by electrically powered wire rope winches and hydraulic actuation, respectively. Combined hydrostatic and the Safety Evaluation Earthquake (SEE) induced hydrodynamic loads would be expected to stress the gate structures beyond their yield capacity. The yield would be downstream only due to the influence of the hydrostatic load under the earthquake response cycle. The resulting deformations were predicted to fracture connecting bolts in the spillway gate arms and cause severe leakages past the top leaf of the sluice gates. The solutions developed for the spillway gates to reduce connection bolt damage and the strengthening of the sluice gates will ensure their post-earthquake operation.
Keywords: Aviemore Dam, spillway, sluice, radial gate, seismic performance, post-earthquake operation.Learn more
Jim Walker, Jamie Macgregor
The Pukaki Canal Inlet structure is a large gated culvert and stilling basin structure, it is a High PIC appurtenant structure to the Pukaki Dam, located in the Mackenzie Basin area of New Zealand’s South Island.
The 560m3/s capacity inlet structure is founded on glacial moraines. It controls flow from the178 km2 Lake Pukaki storage into the 80m wide, 22km long Pukaki/Ohau canal. It is the owner’s (Meridian Energy) most important valve, as it feeds 1550MW of hydro generation on the Waitaki River.
A risk assessment in late 2009 identified a previously unrecognised trigger for a potential failure mode for the stilling basin. Principally, ongoing erosion of the reinforced concrete base slab could lead to failure of water stops in the slab joints potentially leading to slab uplift, foundation erosion, and ultimately, catastrophic failure of the Pukaki Dam. To better define the risk to the structure, further inspection of the stilling basin was recommended.
A dewatered inspection of the stilling basin was required, as further dive inspections would not improve our understanding of structure condition. Because the stilling basin cannot be isolated from the canal, this requires dewatering the entire Pukaki/Ohau canal, presenting significant risks of damage to the canals from slumping and lining failure. A dewatered outage also has major business revenue impacts.
This paper describes how Meridian were able to take advantage of a transmission network outage, scheduled for just six days after the risk was identified, to plan, safely dewater, inspect, and rewater 22km of hydro canal, and not just to inspect the Pukaki Canal Inlet structure, but also to implement repairs to the stilling basin slab which have successfully mitigated the structure safety and operational risks. This huge undertaking involved mobilising an army of people, plant and materials, and cost over NZ$1.8m. From identifying the risk to the structure, to completing repairs took just 13 (very busy) days.
Lessons learned in the areas of dam safety and asset management are presented. As well as those contributing to the success of the project in seizing an opportunity to mitigate the identified dam safety and operational risks.Learn more