2006 – Principles and Requirements of a Dam with Asphalitic Core – Kelag’s Experience Spanning a Period of More Than 15 Years Operation

Fritz Neuschitzer

The Koralpe hydropower scheme is a major development on the Feistritzbach tributary of the River Drau to utilize water in a 50 MW powerhouse located in the south-eastern Carinthia, Europe. The Soboth reservoir is situated 735 m higher in a narrow valley and is created by the 85 m high Feistritzbach dam which was constructed near the border of Austria and Slovenia between 1988 and 1990. This rockfill dam is the latest addition to KELAG’s more than 15 structures and is sealed by an asphaltic core. The excellent deformability and impermeability of the asphaltic core is able to follow the deformation of the compacted rock-fill material best during construction, initial filling and operation period without any seepage. The asphaltic core was placed in three 20 cm layers per day by a specially developed placing unit from a contractor. The upstream and downstream filter zone was placed at the same time with the same machine and compacted carefully by vibrating rollers. The dam is curved in plan with a radius of 650 m and contains about 1.6 million m³ rock fill material. The surface of the downstream side was built exceeding the environmental standards of the time.The most important indicator of the normal function of a dam is the behaviour of seepage. A monitoring system of seepage, piezometers, earth pressure cells and deformation has been installed. The seepage water is monitored online at seven points of the dam base and at the access tunnel to the bottom outlet valve. Geodetic measurements on and inside the dam are done once a year. Several additional pieces of surveillance equipment were installed to observe the behaviour of the asphaltic core. The paper concentrates on the design, construction and performance of the dam with the asphaltic core.

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