M. Tooley, N. Anderson, N. Vitharana, G. McNally, C. Johnson and D. Moore

There is a significant stock of aging concrete dams in Australia which would not meet the requirements of the current recognised dam safety practices applicable to concrete gravity dams.
In this paper, field and laboratory investigations undertaken for two concrete gravity dams are presented, these being Middle River Dam and Warren Dam both owned and operated by the South Australian Water Corporation. The field investigations included a comprehensive drilling program recovering core samples ranging in diameter from 61mm (HQ) to 95mm (4C), continuous imaging (RAAX) of the drilled holes and installation of piezometers. Geological logging of the holes and mapping of the unlined spillway were also undertaken. The laboratory program included the testing of concrete lift joints and concrete samples in direct tension, shear and compression.
Concrete in Middle River Dam is suffering from extensive Alkali Aggregate Reaction (AAR), and consequently a suite of laboratory testing is being undertaken to determine the current level of deterioration and residual reactivity so that potential future AAR-induced expansion can be incorporated into any upgrade design solution.
The main purpose of the study is to determine whether site-specific parameters can be used to re-assess the stability of these two dams as calculations, based on the current standards, have shown that the dams have exceeded the allowable factors of safety values at the storage water levels experienced to date.
The findings may be useful to dam designers and owners faced with the upgrading of concrete dams, where traditional assumptions can result in no upgrade or an upgrade costing several million dollars.

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