2018 – Lake Buffalo Spillway Gates Upgrade

Tony Corbett, John Fitzpatrick

Lake Buffalo located on the Buffalo River near Myrtleford in Victoria was constructed in the 1960s as a cofferdam for the then proposed Big Buffalo dam. Consequently, the dam was designed for a short life (<10 years) and design features and criteria for a permanent dam were not implemented.
Critical features include a primary spillway with three vertical lift gates, two outlet conduits located
through the spillway piers, a single upstream valve on each outlet conduit for regulation and isolation, and a multi-part bulkhead which is installed in front of the valves for inspection and maintenance.

With the continued operation of the dam beyond 60 years, upgrades appropriate to a permanent dam have been implemented, including addressing deficiencies with spillway gate hoists lifting equipment and redundancy of the outlet conduit vales. This proved challenging, as the operation of spillway structures does not readily align with industry or Australian Standards. This paper will outline the issues encountered, their resolution and the lessons learnt during this upgrade work.

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