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2 ABSTRACT Earth embankment dam stability is greatly affected by pore water pressures within the dam and related through- and under-seepage. Elevated pore pressures, with or without a high water table in the dam, increases the likelihood of failure by slope instability. Uncontrolled movement of water, through- or under-seepage, increases the likelihood of soil erosion, piping and loss of foundation or embankment mass. Additionally, excavations into an earth embankment dam for rehabilitation purposes must first consider the insitu conditions in the dam. Many situations occur during a rehabilitation effort that require lowering the phreatic surface within an earth embankment dam to provide safe, continued operation of the dam during rehabilitation. Permanently lowering the water table in a dam through either actively or passively pumped wells and collection trenches can improve the factor of safety against slope failure and also prevent soil migration by collecting and discharging water through properly graded trench and well filters. Unfortunately, installation of a permanent dewatering system or groundwater collection system often requires excavating into the dam itself. This can be problematic, particularly for dams already in need of rehabilitation, since removing mass from the dam during excavation can change the dam’s global stability. This paper will explore issues relating to designing and constructing permanent and temporary dewatering systems for earth embankment dams to mitigate these effects.The first half of the paper will discuss design of permanent dewatering systems, including subsurface investigation, groundwater and failure mode analysis, system design, maintenance, contractual language, and regulatory oversight and requirements. The second half of the paper will discuss issues related to design and implementation of temporary dewatering systems on dams, including flow rate estimation, the need for redundant designs, and opportunities for value engineering. INTRODUCTION Earth embankment dams must be designed to satisfy several safety concerns, the four primary ones being (1) stable slopes, (2) seepage control, (3) overtopping protection, and (4) control of excessive foundation stresses. Items 2 and 4, control of seepage and the stresses generated, i.e. pore water pressures, relate directly to the topic of this paper and the ability of the designed structure to safely maintain stable slopes. Additionally, these
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Temporary and Permanent Dewatering
This is likely in locations where a pervious stratum is located beneath an impervious stratum. Soil with reduced shear strength will be less able to support the embankment slopes. When pore pressures are elevated. Control of the pore pressures and artesian conditions will reduce seepage. piping and heave and increase embankment stability.u) tan φ' Where. the friction portion of the soil’s shear strength is reduced by the pore water pressure. Pore pressures in this situation result in uplift pressures which cause destabilization of the embankment. Stability of the embankment during construction activities must be investigated and addressed during rehabilitation design. soil strength is reduced. In addition to soil shear strength concerns. is controlled by the soil’s porosity or hydraulic conductivity. Reducing the pore pressures will yield higher shear strengths and increase embankment slope stability. Each individual loading condition will create an individual structural response. The load carried by the pore space is defined as the pore water pressure. u is pore water pressure in pounds per square feet. The excavation provides a short (1) 1146 Innovative Dam and Levee Design and Construction . Piping and heave of the foundation and earth embankment soils must be evaluated to prevent failure of the structure. What are pore pressures and why are they significant? All earthen strata contain void. This void space is filled with water and /or air. As infrastructure ages. as shown by Coulomb’s Equation: S = c' + (σ . resulting in an overall reduction in shear strength. When the earthen stratum is loaded. pore.e.safety concerns must be evaluated for all anticipated loading conditions. Structure stability is greatly reduced when pore pressures are high due to the relationship between shear stress and pore pressure. and the related reduction in strata pore pressures. the rehabilitation scheme requires excavation into the existing embankment. the load is carried by both the soil particles and the pore space. Drainage. while fine-grained silts and clays drain extremely slowly. space. Lowering the reservoir supported by the earth embankment is often prohibited due to concerns over environmental damage and / or economic hardship associated with temporary loss of the resource. σ is normal stress in pounds per square feet. especially with regard to internal pore pressures. using consistent units S is shear strength in pounds per square feet. and φ' is angle of internal friction in degrees Based on the above relationship. c' is cohesion in pounds per square feet. i. rehabilitation of existing earth embankment dams is occurring with greater frequency. pore pressure control is also needed where excessive pressure exists in the foundation soils and / or rock. Granular soils will drain rapidly. More often than not.
must be provided. lowering of the phreatic surface within the embankment. Passive systems are designed to permit flow at any time. Therefore. 2. FERC). Figure 1. and (2) increased soil shear strength and structure stability. PERMANENT DESIGN SOLUTIONS Long term control of pore pressures must provide adequate relief of these pore pressures so that they do not lead to destabilization of the earth embankment structure. Therefore the design and construction of permanent and temporary dewatering systems for earth embankment dams must take into consideration the state and federal regulations and codes. as needed by the site conditions. A manhole system is shown in the passive relief well example. 4. If the seepage is left uncontrolled. the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. owner requirements and sound engineering judgment. i. It is included in the figure since the header pipe in the particular application was installed within the footprint of the structure’s drainage system. The required dewatering serves two purposes: (1) seepage control and erosion prevention. Quantity of flow Well spacing Hole diameter and screen openings Filter Pack Temporary and Permanent Dewatering 1147 . The gravel bed surrounding the header pipe is not required in most applications. have their own design criteria and process. Design methods for permanent relief wells are adequately addressed in the following literature: Dewatering and Groundwater Control (United Facilities Criteria. Dewatering efforts and control of pore pressures must be completed to the satisfaction of the federal and state regulatory agencies. 1992). 2004) and Design. 3. permanent facility design considerations include: 1. Owners.circuit to the steady state seepage within the embankment.e. This is typically handled through the installation of relief wells which penetrate the strata of concern. to maintain embankment stability during rehabilitation. Generally. Construction & Maintenance of Relief Wells (USACE. Access to the well head for maintenance and monitoring should be provided. Active systems are designed with pumps and control systems to maintain a particular head differential defined by the design. usually a Department or Bureau within the state government.e. embankment failure is likely. such as the Army Corp of Engineers and natural resources regulatory agencies. dewatering. Relief wells are designed either as passive or active systems. with collection trenches and associated piping to safely convey the flow. and federal agencies (i.
Figure 1. Passive Relief Well 1148 Innovative Dam and Levee Design and Construction .
the permanent dewatering system should be designed for a capacity greater than the calculated seepage quantity. corrosive or bacteria laden. Well screen slots or perforations must be compatible with the filter pack. gradation Water quality: chemical and biological contamination. Laboratory testing must include gradation evaluation of site soils for adequate filter design. artesian or a combination Boundary conditions: source geometry. 3. Compatibility of the relief well components must be evaluated during design to prevent migration of fines with the dewatering effort. Flow nets constructed by hand are also a reliable technique to estimate through. 4. Regardless of technique. Temporary and Permanent Dewatering 1149 . Seepage analysis is required. well penetration Soil and rock engineering characteristics: hydraulic conductivity. Many computer programs are commercially available which provide modeling capabilities. This is generally completed through falling head testing of soils and pressure testing of bedrock. Field instrumentation data as recommended above is extremely useful to validate model outputs. field testing should be completed during the subsurface investigation to assess in situ hydraulic conductivity. A minimum factor of 10 is suggested to reflect the inherent variability in soil permeability and minimal increase material cost. i. Casagrande piezometers should also be installed in strategic locations throughout the site to provide long term pore pressure measurements. The subsurface investigation and field testing may also encounter artesian conditions.e. The goal of the design effort is to prevent soil particles from entering the filter pack. the well screen must be sized large enough to provide pore pressure relief. but sufficiently small enough to prevent soil particle infiltration. 2. Measurement and containment of the artesian head must be completed during the field work. etc.Input data for these design considerations include: 1. the output is only as reliable as the quality and accuracy of the input. In addition to laboratory testing of collected soil. However.and under-seepage quantities. rock and water samples. The filter pack must be compatible with the site soils with which it will be placed in contact. Therefore. strata variability. The field crew should be prepared for artesian condition with packers. Flow source: gravity. a thorough site subsurface investigation program with laboratory testing is required. Transducers and data loggers installed in the piezometers should be considered so that response of pore pressures to changes in reservoir pool elevation can be recorded for evaluation during design. Design of the permanent relief wells will only be as successful as the ability of the models and calculations to adequately reflect the actual site conditions. bentonite and grout to quickly backfill the hole if required for safety.
Long-term monitoring of the phreatic surface within the earth embankment dam is required to ensure the system as installed provides the required control of water to reduce pore pressures. structure seepage flow path changes. Development and testing of the system should be completed upon installation. Development of the well allows easy flow of water through the filter pack immediately adjacent the screen. Since the installation of the permanent and temporary dewatering systems is critical to safe operation of the structure during construction. This individual should record all observations and report deficiencies to the owner or owner’s representative for reconciliation with the contractor. Directing flow through a weir prior to discharge is recommended. The maintenance program should be site-specific. It is recommended that the general contractor be required to identify his dewatering specialist with the bid documents. Field operations should be observed and monitored by the design engineer. Pump tests verify well capacity and provide a benchmark against which future flow rates are compared. If Casagrande piezometers have not been installed during the design phase. Quantity of flow should also be monitored. Changes to sediment load or flow rate/quantity should be immediately evaluated by the design engineer. all relief wells experience a loss in efficiency over time and require periodic surging and cleaning. or qualified delegate. Successful performance of any dewatering system requires that it be properly installed. they should be installed as part of the relief well construction contract. whether passively or actively via pumping. designers should encourage a detailed dewatering plan be submitted with the bid and 1150 Innovative Dam and Levee Design and Construction . Proof of successful completion of projects of similar size and duration. must be monitored for sediment load. are extremely important to the successful long-term operation of the relief well system. Only an experienced individual can provide the best likelihood of a successful installation. However. based on actual water quality test results. both by the contractor and the driller. These changes may reflect poor performance of the system due to degradation. additional monitoring locations should be considered so that adequate data is collected during dam operation to verify pore pressures are within safe limits. who has a complete understanding of the intent of the design and requirements of the installed permanent dewatering system. or other situations which require action to continue safe operation of the earth embankment dam. should be submitted with the bid documents. Construction documents for the installation of permanent dewatering facilities must require a dewatering specialist with experience in the type and depth of system required.Water removed by the system. as well as installation of the filter material without bridging. Drilling a plumb hole. Instrumentation of the weir should be considered to provide continuous records of flow and system performance. Even in locations where Casagrande piezometers exist. A maintenance program must also be provided with the design.
Gaps in knowledge may need to be filled using the designer’s judgment. a common strategy to use when designing temporary dewatering systems for dam rehabilitation projects is to design the system to have the capacity to intercept the total seepage flow through the dam. this information is available in the contract documents. In order to do this the designer must consider: • • • • • • • • the size and depth of the proposed excavations as well as their locations on the dam the geology of the embankment and the surrounding native soils and bedrock historical groundwater and reservoir levels the planned reservoir level during construction seepage barriers such as grout curtains or corewalls that are part of the structure’s existing geometry. Quantitative Design The actual techniques and equations used during design of the dewatering system will vary with the physical layout of the project and hydrogeology of the dam site. and schedule Generally speaking. This method is especially useful when the rehabilitation works are parallel to the dam’s crest. contractors’ past experience working on the dam. (2) is constructible and does not interfere with other work. or information from published sources such as the United States Geological Survey or state geological surveys. TEMPORARY DESIGN SOLUTIONS Designing a temporary dewatering system for a dam rehabilitation project requires the designer to synthesize various pieces of information to create a design that (1) has a valid theoretical underpinning. and (3) is cost effective. However. the flow that the dewatering system must capture can be computed using: Qs = xK ( H 2 − h 2 ) 2 R0 (2) Temporary and Permanent Dewatering 1151 . such as a trench for well field collection headers or toe drains(see Figure 2 below). equipment and commercial power. If we analyze the dewatering system for such a trench as a line sink and assume that the dam reservoir acts as a line source. global slope stability (this is sometimes addressed in the specifications by requiring certain groundwater elevations to be maintained in piezometers placed throughout the embankment) availability of materials. The critical nature of dewatering to the safe and on-time execution of the work cannot be stressed enough.evaluated along with price.
Some dams have pools or reservoirs on their downstream sides as well.Where. t is the pumping time in days. H and R0. using consistent units 2. Radius of influence is generally calculated using the Jacob Straight Line Method: R0 = where. The downstream flow may be neglected if there is no downstream pool or if its elevation is below the work. H-h is in feet. H is the distance from the bottom of the aquifer to the potentiometric surface of the aquifer in feet. often with new values of K. using consistent units Qs is the system flow in cubic feet per day. x is the length of the trench in feet. and Csis the aquifer’s storage coefficient or storativity (dimensionless) Or using the following empirical equation: Where R0 is in feet. and K is in meters/second R0 = 3000( H − h) K (4) 1152 Innovative Dam and Levee Design and Construction . K is the soil’s hydraulic conductivity in feet per day. Flow from this source to the dewatering system will need to be accounted for by a separate application of the equation. and R0 is the radius of influence of the system in feet Note that the equation above calculates flow from a source on one side of the sink (say the reservoir impounded by the dam). h is the distance from the bottom of the aquifer to the target water elevation in feet.25Tt Cs (3) T is the transmissivity of the aquifer in square feet per day. A common error made when applying this equation to dewatering problems of all types is to neglect the component of flow from the other side of the sink.
The impermeable wall lengthens the flow path from the reservoir to the dewatering system. Since the wall forces flow through the dam to become vertical. Conceptual Plan and Section of Flow to a Line Sink from a Line Source Experienced judgment must be used when deciding on a radius of influence. and accumulations of fine-grained material that may have built up at the reservoir/dam interface. interlocking steel sheeting or other cut-off methods installed for construction. For example. If the distance from the dewatering system to the dam’s reservoir is less than the calculated value for radius of influence. The radius of influence may also be lengthened to account for soil anisotropy.Figure 2. grout curtains or corewalls. Figure 3. a common scenario confronting the designer is presented in Figure 3. Factors Affecting Radius of Influence and Length of Flowpath. the designer may Temporary and Permanent Dewatering 1153 . where the dewatering system is quite close to the reservoir and the dam has a partially penetrating corewall or grout curtain. it is good practice to substitute the distance to the reservoir for the calculated radius of influence (in effect the designer is saying that the distance to the point of no drawdown is the same as the distance to the reservoir).
(6) It is worth noting that nearly all of the parameters in the equations above can be obtained from the geometry of the dewatering problem and should be known reasonably well from the project drawings and borings. 2004). or based on known seepage rates and groundwater gradients. and K is the hydraulic conductivity of the aquifer is gallons per day per square foot This equation appears in a slightly different form in Dewatering and Groundwater Control (UFC 3-220-05. and L2 is the distance from the water level in the reservoir to the bottom of the barrier It is also worth noting that the designer of the permanent rehabilitation works has likely performed a flow/seepage analysis. the designer must decide on the number of dewatering devices (wells. The flow per well may be estimated empirically using Sichart’s equation: Qw = 0. Generally this is done by dividing the expected system flow rate by the expected flow per well. development effort and well construction materials.apply a factor equal to the ratio of horizontal to vertical hydraulic conductivity (Kh/Kv) or anisotropy. Actual yield of the wells will be influenced by such factors as drilling method. In particular. wellpoints etc. using consistent units K R0 = L1 + h L2 K v (5) L1 is the distance from the dewatering system to the reservoir.0352l w rw K where Qw is the flow per well in gallons per minute. lw is the length of well screen in contact with the saturated aquifer in feet. Therefore the effective radius of influence becomes: where. This value may be given to the designer in the project’s geotechnical report (perhaps in the form of an earlier seepage or flow analysis) or be estimated based on mechanical analyses of the soil. slug and packer tests performed during the project’s geotechnical investigation. rw is the radius of the well’s borehole in inches. 3rd 1154 Innovative Dam and Levee Design and Construction . Kh and Kv are the horizontal and vertical hydraulic conductivities of the soil respectively.) to install. In the absence of other information. Descriptions of methods for estimating K are beyond the scope of this paper and are well treated elsewhere. It is often instructive to study the methodology used in this analysis and to compare results obtained using different methods. this ratio is generally taken to be between 5 and 10 for most dewatering applications. Once the required system flow rate has been determined. Hydraulic conductivity (K) is the exception. Construction Dewatering and Groundwater Control.
4th Ed. Temporary and Permanent Dewatering 1155 . The selection of hydraulic conductivity will greatly affect the outcome of the design and uncertainty surrounding this parameter may drive up the cost of dewatering unnecessarily. to 36-in.). they may be installed at closer spacings if soil conditions require it. This limitation may be overcome by installing multiple stages of wellpoints at successively lower elevations. Deep wells are generally widely spaced (50+ ft) compared to wellpoints and eductors. wellpoints may achieve even less drawdown.5-in. The major drawback with wellpoints is their limited suction lift. The wellpoints are connected to a common vacuumized header and pumped by a single pump on the surface.Ed (Powers et al. diameter boreholes. At higher elevations. Since they rely on vacuum. CONSTRUCTION CONSIDERATIONS System Selection Three types of dewatering system are commonly used in the industry. 2007) is recommended for a discussion of using grain size curves to estimate hydraulic conductivity. wellpoints and eductors. wellpoints can only lift water up to 25 ft (at the wellpoint itself. drawdown will be less as one moves away from the dewatering system). to 8-in. The wells are equipped with individual submersible pumps and connected to a common discharge header pipe. and ‘Applied Hydrogeology. Wellpoints are relatively inexpensive on a unit basis and are therefore usually installed on close centers (10 ft is typical). 2000) recommended for a treatment of rising and falling head (slug) tests. to 12+-in. Wellpoints (Figure 5) typically consist of small (1.(Fetter. All of these methods will produce estimates only. however. where ambient air pressure is lower.) installed in large diameter boreholes (8-in. Electricity must be distributed to the wells individually. to 3-in.. Project owners and others setting budgets for the initial geotechnical investigation may wish to specifically allocate resources to the problem of accurately estimating K and to reduce its uncertainty.) diameter screen and casing installed in 6-in.Deep wells (Figure 4) generally consist of relatively large diameter screen and casing (4-in. deep wells.
2007.. © John Wiley & Sons. Powers et al. Figure 5. 1156 Innovative Dam and Levee Design and Construction .Figure 4. Typical Wellpoint Schematic.Powers et al. From Construction Dewatering and Groundwater Control. Inc. 2007.. 3rd Ed. From Construction Dewatering and Groundwater Control. 3rd Ed. Typical Deep Well Schematic. Inc. Reprinted with permission of John Wiley & Sons. Reprinted with permission of John Wiley & Sons. © John Wiley & Sons.
Eductor systems (Figure 6) use the energy of pressurized water for pumping power. Eductors are generally installed on 10 to 20 ft centers. From Construction Dewatering and Groundwater Control. This creates a vacuum and draws water into the well from the surrounding soil. to 4-in. one supply line carrying pressurized water to the wells. 3rd Ed. screens and casings installed in 6-in. © John Wiley & Sons. to 10-in. Eductor wells typically consist of 2-in. Typical Eductor Schematic. boreholes. 2007. Temporary and Permanent Dewatering 1157 . and one return line carrying the used supply water and the pumped water back to a surface-mounted pump station. Pressurized supply water is forced through a nozzle and venturi installed at the bottom of the well. Reprinted with permission of John Wiley & Sons. Figure 6.. Each well is connected to two header pipes. Inc. Powers et al.
wellpoints and eductors and in limited areas. A requirement for stockpiled granular material on site to be placed quickly in case of uncontrolled flow or soil loss. Again. where temporary dewatering systems are required to ensure the stability of the dam during construction. Pumping from open trenches may be permitted in certain controlled situations. Therefore. A break in a pipe will cause a leak but will not cause all of the wells to stop pumping. safety and cost. contingency plans should be developed and incorporated into the larger dewatering plan.Redundant Designs Dams are high value structures where the consequences of even a small or partial failure can be large. A requirement for stand-by power with automatic transfer switch in case the main power source fails. A break in one of the lines will disrupt pumping and cause any wells attached to that line to fail. By contrast. the electrical system should be designed such that adjacent wells are not on the same circuit so that a power disruption will not cause all of the wells in a given area to fail at once. backup power systems should be incorporated into the design. this method must be closely monitored and used only as a supplement to deep wells. The following contingencies should be addressed in the dewatering specification and the plan submitted by the contractor: • • • • A provision for additional wells or other dewatering devices if the base or proposed system needs to be augmented. regardless of the system chosen. electrical components and piping. The problem of redundancy in electrical distribution may be solved by running individual cables to the wells. Collaboration between the parties may happen at the design (pre-bid stage) if the project is to be sole-sourced to a contractor or during the post bid stage if the owner’s team has selected a contractor through a competitive bid process. 1158 Innovative Dam and Levee Design and Construction . it is desirable to make the system as redundant as possible. provided adequate filtering of the water is provided. Wellpoint and eductor systems both rely on a single pump station and common piping to transmit pumping energy (vacuum and pressurized water respectively) to the wells and to expel pumped water. Value Engineering Cooperation between the engineer (designer of the permanent system) and the contractor (designer of the temporary system and installer of the permanent and temporary systems) may produce benefits to the project in terms of improved schedule. However. If this is not cost-effective. A requirement for spare parts including pumps. deep wells overcome this problem by distributing pumping power throughout the system. Regardless of the type of system selected.
Handling heavy.One potential area for discussion and cost savings is whether permanent dewatering wells may be incorporated into the temporary system. Designers may often be tempted to simplify the system by proposing a few large wells. Computer modeling output is only as reliable as the quality and accuracy of the input. once the designer has arrived at some basic parameters for the permanent system (flow rate. including them in the temporary system may eliminate well drilling time and expense. However.). open area required etc. this may not be the best solution. location. as shown by Coulomb’s Law. owner requirements and sound engineering judgment. the designer may specify more specialized screen materials such as wire-on-rib or wire-on-pipe type well screen. improving project cost and schedule. piezometers.e. These products are constructed by wrapping a trapezoidal wire around a perforated pipe or a skeleton of ribs and have much higher open areas per foot of screen than conventional slotted pipe. If the permanent wells are included in the temporary system. i. depending on the drilling equipment and expertise available in the area. If reducing the well size becomes impractical because of the reduced open well screen area per well. CONCLUSIONS Based on the foregoing. provision should be made to ensure that they are not damaged in the process. Design of the permanent relief wells will only be as successful as the ability of the models and calculations to adequately reflect the actual site conditions. an experienced contractor should be able to advise on how best to install the wells. If the permanent system includes wells and the construction sequence allows these wells to be installed early in the process. is useful to validate model outputs. large diameter drill tools may also pose a safety risk for workers on uneven ground with poor access for support equipment. Pore pressure control is also needed where excessive pressure exists in the foundation soils and / or rock. Compatibility of the dewatering system components must be evaluated during design to prevent migration of fines with the dewatering effort. Permanent dewatering systems should be designed for a capacity greater than the calculated seepage quantity. Data from field instrumentation. • • • • Temporary and Permanent Dewatering 1159 . Large wells require large drill rigs which have high mobilization costs and may be cumbersome to move around on the sloping ground found at dam sites. Design and construction of permanent and temporary dewatering systems for earth embankment dams must take into consideration the federal and state regulations and codes. Additionally. the authors conclude the following: • Earth embankment dam stability is greatly reduced when pore pressures are high due to the relationship between shear stress and pore pressure. Stability of the earth embankment dam structure during rehabilitation construction activities must also be addressed during rehabilitation design. Therefore a thorough subsurface investigation program with field and laboratory testing is recommended. Installation of piezometers to record the in situ pore pressure measurements will permit calibration of the design model.
Given that the consequence of a dewatering system failure on a dam rehabilitation project is quite high. P. J. United Facilities Criteria. Design.B..205 Powers. C. W. REFERENCES Design of Small Dams. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors would like to acknowledge Christine Herridge and Christopher Ponnwitz for editorial and graphics assistance respectively during the preparation of this paper. USACE.Applied Hydrogeology. The owner’s engineer and the contractor should work together to look for ways to value engineer the dewatering. Corwin. the project specifications should require an experienced dewatering contractor to submit a detailed dewatering plan and the plan should be evaluated as part of the contractor selection process. John Wiley & Sons. January 16. Prentice Hall. 2007. 3rd Ed.P. 2000. 1987. Dewatering and Groundwater Control. New York. US Department of Interior. Schmall. It is imperative to design the dewatering system to include redundancy and backup systems.C. Construction Dewatering and Groundwater Control: New Methods and Applications. and Kaeck. Construction & Maintenance of Relief Wells. Bureau of Reclamation.W. 190 . pp.. A. UFC 3-220-05. NY. E. 1992 Fetter. 1160 Innovative Dam and Levee Design and Construction . 2004.• • • • Monitoring of flow and maintenance requirements must be included in the permanent dewatering system design. EM 1110-2-1914. saving time and money and improving safety.