2013 – Kinchant Dam – design and construction of upgrade works

David Ryan

Kinchant Dam is a zoned earth and rockfill embankment situated on the north branch of Sandy Creek, approximately 30 km southwest of Mackay in central Queensland. Kinchant Dam was constructed in stages. The ‘Initial Development Stage’ which consisted of an embankment length of approximately 3.3 km and full supply level (FSL) of EL 49.21 m AHD was completed in 1977. Further development completed in 1986 (Stage I) increased the FSL to EL 57.21 m AHD with an embankment length of 5.5 km and a maximum embankment height of 22.3 m. The dam has a storage capacity of 62,800 Ml and a 60 m wide emergency spillway with a fixed crest level of EL 58.21 m AHD, one metre higher than the FSL.
A series of investigations have been carried out since its construction as a consequence of both regulatory safety reviews and observed excessive pore pressures within the foundation that have led to wet patches developing at the toe of the dam. In one area at the toe, pore pressures were such that artesian conditions developed. This paper outlines the history of various stages of construction of the dam, the foundation investigations since construction and the safety review and comprehensive risk assessment process that lead to the upgrade design and construction of remedial works. The remedial works include the extension of the downstream filter material adjacent to the clay core and the provision of additional pressure relief wells at the downstream toe of the dam.

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