2008 – Plunge pool design at Gebidem Dam (Switzerland)

Erik Bollaert, Nicola Bretz

Abstract: Gebidem Dam is a 122 m high double curvature arch dam situated in the canton of Wallis, Switzerland. The dam reservoir collects glacier water of the longest glacier in Europe, i.e. the Aletsch glacier (25 km length). The water is very rich in sediment. This results in huge amounts of fine sediments depositing into the reservoir. The 55 m3/s turbined by the Bitsch power station contain between 10 and 13 kg of sand, or an average of almost 40 tons per hour.

Hence, a yearly flushing is organized allowing to release about 400’000 m3 of solid material from the bottom outlets of the dam towards downstream. Moreover, the crest spillway of the dam is frequently used during summer months to release water from the reservoir, resulting in high-velocity jets impacting the downstream plunge pool. The latter consists of a series of flat concrete plates tied together by means of steel anchors and supported by a layer of underlying mass concrete.

Intensive jet impact on this concrete apron within the last 40 years has led to severe damage and, as such, replacement of the apron becomes necessary. The present paper describes the methodology applied for design of a new concrete apron. Especially the interaction between the hydrodynamic pressures exerted by overtopping jets and the steel anchorage necessary to prevent uplift of the new concrete apron is pointed out.

Keywords: scour, concrete apron design, anchorage

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