2016 – Dam Safety Management for Upgrade of an Extreme Consequence Storage

Mark Arnold, Gavan Hunter and Mark Foster

Following the dam safety risk assessment for Greenvale Dam in 2008, Melbourne Water implemented a 3.0 m reservoir level restriction on the operation of the storage as an interim risk reduction measure. The 3.0 m restriction coincided with the ‘as constructed’ top of the chimney filter in the main embankment. This interim action reduced the dam safety risk to below the ANCOLD limit of tolerability.

Dam safety upgrade works were undertaken in 2014/15 to bring the dam in-line with current risk based guidelines and to enable the removal of the interim reservoir restriction, bringing the storage back to full operating capacity. Greenvale Dam was required to remain operational throughout the works and this required careful consideration of the dam safety risk during construction.

Deep excavations were required within the crest and downstream shoulder of the embankments, that,, without adequate management, had the potential to increase risk to the downstream population. Excavations up to 18 m depth were required into the wing embankments for construction of full height filters from foundation to crest, excavations up to 7 m deep were required in the main embankment to expose and connect into the existing filters and secant filter piles up to 13 m deep were used to connect the new chimney filter of the wing embankments with the original chimney filter of the main embankment.

A key element of the design and construction of the upgrade works was managing dam safety during construction. Dam safety considerations included (i) design based decisions to manage the level of exposure; (ii) implementation of further restrictions on reservoir level by the owner Melbourne Water; (iii) construction methods to manage exposure; (iv) an elevated surveillance regime during the works and (v) emergency preparation measures including emergency stockpiles and 24 hour emergency standby crew. The construction based dam safety requirements were focused on early detection and early intervention, and were managed via the project specific Dam Safety Management Plan.

This paper focuses on dam safety management including the decisions made, actions taken and construction requirements and touches on how these relate to the key project features.

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