2017 – Hardfill Dams and Geomembrane Facings

Alberto Scuero, Giovanna Lilliu, Marco Scarella, Gabriella Vaschetti

Hardfill dams present technical and cost advantages. Placement is like in embankment dams, thus construction is fast. The typical trapezoidal shape makes possible use of local aggregates and low cement content. Despite the low strength material, these dams can be built on weak foundation, and resist earthquake and overtopping. However, being the material semi-pervious, they require an impervious facing. Until 2014 this was typically made with conventional concrete slabs with waterstops, or grout enriched hardfill. Concrete facings require heavy and costly equipment, long construction time, are expensive, frequently require maintenance.Construction of the facing can have a big impact on the overall construction costs of the dam. Replacing the concrete facing with a geomembrane lining is a cost-effective solution. This paper describes two hardfill dams’ projects with an exposed geomembrane as upstream liner: Filiatrinos (Greece, 2015), 55.6 m high,and Ambarau(Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2017), 19.30 m high.

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