2014 – Do You Really Know/Understand Your Assets’ Risk?

Leonard Wiliem, Rob Keogh, and David Thomas

Progressive rope creep on the steel ropes which hold 14 counterweights in tension on the seven spillway gates was monitored regularly. The 2011 annual inspection identified that the creep had taken the lower guide wheels of the suspended counterweights beyond the extent of the wheel guides.
A programed project to extend the guides was delayed due to Workplace Health and Safety concerns on confined access and working under a suspended load. A study was commissioned to deliver a safe method of extending the guides. Because regular testing and two flood events had proved the gates were functioning well, the risk of failure in gate operation during flood event was considered low and a lower priority was assigned to rectification work.
Callide Dam is a SunWater owned dam located in Central Queensland. It has a similar spillway gate mechanism as Coolmunda Dam. The only difference is that Callide Dam gates work in pairs with one counterweight attached to each gate.
In January 2013 due to heavy rainfall caused by the ex-cyclone Oswald, Callide Dam experienced a flood event which triggered a gate operation. During the draining phase, the gates operated abnormally sustaining damage to the structure and to the automatic gate opening mechanism. SunWater undertook investigations to identify the cause of the abnormal operation and found that the primary cause of the gate abnormal operation was due to jamming of the suspended counterweight on the end of the guides. This was due to cable stretched over 26 years of service to the extent that the lower wheel assembly was beyond the guide rails at the time of the flood event.
The event at Callide Dam was a wake up call for SunWater to re-evaluate the risk assessment for Coolmunda Dam. This re-evaluation recommended to assign the highest priority on the rectification of the wire rope creep issue on the radial gate as the risk of failure in gate operation during flood event was high.
This paper discusses the actions in re-evaluating the risks at SunWater’s Coolmunda Dam and the measures taken to quickly undertake remedial action on both dams and the challenges involved with each.

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