2018 – Seepage Flow Path Identification for Leakage Detection and Asset Management

Richard Campbell, Jared Ewers, Ryan Blanchard, David Bierman

Dams leak! But only some of the leaks require investigation and remediation. When they do, finding the pathway of the leak becomes an expensive and slow process, often characterised by drilling “trial and error” boreholes that further impair the integrity of the structure. A much better alternative is to collect specialised data with highly sensitive instruments along all relevant points, map the data using the latest groundwater geophysics technology or hydrogeophysics technology, create 3D models of the subsurface including the flow path of the leak in question, and finally use software filters and algorithms to predict ongoing effects of the water problem. In this paper three case studies are presented including the Bartley Dam, King George Dam, and the Samanalawewa dam. All of the dams had leaks that concerned the dam owners. The method was applied to determine the location of the seepage paths passing through the dam. Remediation was completed at the Bartley Dam and King George Dam confirming the results from the method. And there are plans for remediation at the Samanalawewa dam. The method saved the clients a significant amount of money because they had a focused remediation. Knowing the dam has been repaired and there are no other leaks provides peace of mind to the dam owners.

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