Master Degree Course Faculty of Civil and Environment Engineering




During the night of December 2²3. The reaction sped up because of the presence of iron in corroding non-stainless steel pipelines. carbon monoxide.The Bhopal disaster was an industrial catastrophe that took place at a pesticide plant owned and operated by Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) in Bhopal. 1984. large amounts of water entered tank 610. either produced in the storage tank or in the atmosphere. Thousands of people died immediately from the effects of the gas and many were trampled in the panic. Madhya Pradesh .000 people.m. 1984. containing 42 tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC). Around 12 a. causing great panic as people woke up with a burning sensation in their lungs. releasing a large volume of toxic gases into the atmosphere. This forced the emergency venting of pressure from the MIC holding tank.India on December 3rd . Picture 1. The resulting exothermic reaction increased the temperature inside the tank to over 200°C (392 °F). raising the pressure to a level the tank was not designed to withstand. MonoMethyl Amine (MMA) and carbon dioxide. Union Carbide MIC Plant after Tragedy (Source: Wikipedia) Health Effects 1 . A mixture of poisonous gases flooded the city of Bhopal. oxides of nitrogen. resulting in the exposure of morethan 520. Apart from MIC. the plant released Methyl IsoCyanate (MIC) gas and other toxins. the gas cloud contained poisonous gases such as phosgene. hydrogen cyanide. hydrogen chloride.

All leaves yellowed and fell off within 72 hours and also water got contaminated. breathlessness. The Tragedy killed 4. The number of people affected is more than 520. There were several other effects such as respiratory difficulties. severe eye irritation and a feeling of suffocation.000 have died since then. The acute symptoms were burning in the respiratory tract and eyes. 10.000 immediately. immune and neurological disorders. Findings during autopsies revealed changes not only in the lungs but also cerebral oedema.000. cardiac failure secondary to lung injury and female reproductive difficulties. vomiting.000 within 72 hours and more than 25. reflexogenic circulatory collapse and pulmonary oedema.The initial effects of exposure were coughing. The mortality rate increased by up to 300% and neonatal mortality rate by 200 %. Birth defects among children born to affected women. Victims of Bhopal Gas Tragedy What caused the disaster 2 . stomach pains and vomiting. The causes of deaths were choking. fatty degeneration of the liver and necrotizing enteritis. blepharospasm. Picture 2. tubular necrosis of the kidneys.

Government was unable to provide victims proper rehabilitation.Factors leading to this huge gas leak include:          The use of hazardous chemicals (MIC) just for the sake of cost saving Storing these chemicals in large tanks instead of over 200 steel drums. Lack of political willpower has led to a stalemate on the issue of cleaning up the plant and its environs of hundreds of tonnes of toxic waste. and diseases affecting the nervous system. According to activists. which has been left untouched. non-existent catastrophe plans and shortcomings in health care and socioeconomic rehabilitation Aftermath The Central and State Governments tried to provide medical facilities. The effort was far inadequate compare to the real requirement. Widows were granted a mere Rs. After a long trialed case against UCC. food and water supplies to affected people. and the resulting contamination may lead to decades of slow poisoning. Activists have demanded that DCC clean up this toxic waste. In 2001 Dow Chemical Company (DCC) acquired UCC. even after several warnings by employee unions The problem was then made worse by the plant's location near a densely populated area. II. Possible corroding material in pipelines Poor maintenance after the plant ceased production in the early 1980s Poor training of factory staff Failure of several safety systems (due to poor maintenance and regulations) Safety systems being switched off to save money . that too in year 1999. there are studies showing that the rates of cancer and other ailments are high in the region. TETON DAM FAILURE 3 . 200 per month as pension. Environmentalists have warned that the waste is a potential minefield in the heart of the city. a dismal sum of $470 million (insurance sum plus interest) was paid by UCC in full and final settlement of its civil and criminal liabilities. liver and kidneys in humans. and have pressed the government of India to demand more money from DCC.including the MIC tank refrigeration system which alone would have prevented the disaster Negligence of safety standards by UCIL. DCC believes that all the liabilities of UCC have been fulfilled and now there is no responsibility left for DCC. Foods were distributed only for short period.

Zone 2 overlaid Zone 1 and extended downstream to provide a layer to control seepage through the foundation. the excavation of rock under the abutments (Independent Panel. Between 1961 and 1970. 1976).esta lished to provide recreation. These elements for the foundation were important because the types of rock located in this area. It was £¤ ¢ £ 4 . 1976). eight alternate sites within about 16 km of the selected site were investigated. Finally. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR). 2). are not generally considered acceptable for structural foundations. a continuous grout curtain along the entire foundation. a cutoff trench to rock below the elevation of 1.550 meters. 1976). flood control. steep-sided key trenches on the abutments above the elevation of 1. and 4). Between 1946 and 1961. The Office of Design and Construction.550 meters. Zone 3 was downstream and its main function was to provide structural stability. U.S. three miles northeast of ¥¤¢ De gn and Con uc on ewdale . power generation. © ¡ Figure 3 The details figure of Teton Da   construction § ¦ The Teton Da ¨ was located on the Teton River. The design of the foundation consisted of four basic elements: 1). 3). basalt and rhyolite.000 acres) of farmland. at the Denver Federal Center. designed the dam and the construction contract was awarded to the team of Morrison-Knudsen-Kiewit in December of 1971. approximately 100 borings were taken at the site (Independent Panel. and irrigation for over 40. The first active site investigation in the area occurred in 1932 (Teton Dam Failure @ 2002). The embankment itself consisted of five main zones. Zone 1 was the impervious center core. The preparations for this dam project had been underwa for many years. which formed the water barrier of the dam.Idaho. 21 meter deep. Zone 4 consisted of the storage areas downstream from the control structure and the temporary enclosures built to permit the work to be done.000 hectares (100. Zone 5 was the rockfill in the outer parts of the embankment (Independent Panel.

1976 wetness was noticed in the right abutment and small springs were beginning to appear (Independent Panel. It was now to be inspected daily. However. 1976 several small seepages were noticed in the north abutment wall. 1976). The first major leak in Teton Dam construction    At 11:00 a. Due to these sections being incomplete. On June 4. 1976). Turbid nature of outflow along the abutment 5 . and the operators were pulled to safety by ropes tied around their waists (Teton Dam Flood @ 2002).m.100 to 1. Bureau of Reclamation. which was higher than the predetermined goal rate of 0. The leak was flowing at about 500 to 800 liters per second (20 to 30 cfs) from rock in the right abutment. The Failu e On June 3. as set by the U. the increased rate was expected. but the river outlet works tunnel and the auxiliary outlet works tunnel were not opened ( rthur.3 to 0. Two of the bulldozers were swallowed up by the rapidly expanding hole. 1975.000 acre-feet) when filled to the top. the water was rising at a rate of about 1 meter (3 feet) per day. The dam was closed and began storing water on October 3. and considered acceptable by the Bureau of Reclamation as long as seepage and the water table downstream of the dam were measured more frequently (Independent Panel. Picture 4. and readings were to be taken twice weekly instead of once a week. a whirlpool was observed in the reservoir directly upstream from the dam and four bulldozers were sent to try to push riprap into the sinkhole near the dam crest (Independent Panel.S.Construction of the dam began in February 1972 and the embankment would have a maximum height of 93 meters above the riverbed and would form a reservoir of 356 million cubic meters (288. 1977). the flow had increased to 1. 1976 the first major leak was noticed between 7:30 and 8:00 a. This led to more frequent inspections of the dam. On June 5. By 9:00 a.m.6 meters (1 to 2 feet) per day for the first year. due to the tunnels being incomplete. 1976).400 liters per second (40 to 50 cfs) and seepage had been observed about 40 meters (130 feet) below the crest of the dam ( rthur.m. Picture 5. 1977).

The panel began work almost immediately and issued its report in December. just after noon on June 5th. Peck. This independent panel was made up of prominent civil and geotechnical engineers including Wallace L. Wherever this material was subject to flowing water it could be attacked and washed away. conditions favoring erosion and piping were evaluated. and Arthur Casagrande. a former president of the ASC . Then. earthen dams are relatively flexible and tolerant of differential settlements. Furthermore. dam crest beginning to breach at 11.55 am and maximum flood discharge emanating from gap in dam`s right abutment. Condition favorable for erosion and piping existed in Zone 1. Picture 6. where the primary materials were highly erodible silts. This contact could have occurred in three different possible ways. which would have led to cracking. seepage through the 6    . First. reservoir leakage. 1976. the Governor of Idaho and the Secretary of the Interior selected an independent panel to review the cause of the failure. 1976). as well as differential settlement. and seepage around the end of the grout curtain. 1976 (Independent Panel. This is happen about 11. and eminent geotechnical engineers Ralph B. because the tunnel below the spillway would also have been cracked. Levy and Salvadori (1992) define piping as ´the development of tubular leak-causing cavities.µ One of the first possible mechanisms considered was increased settling of the structure under the weight of the structure and the water. During the investigation. Chadwick. Bolton Seed. Dam crest beginning to breach Inve igating Panel and Re ults Following the failure.50 am. H. The panel considered all possible causes of failure and tried to establish the sequence of events leading to the failure. The failure hypotheses eliminated included seismic activity.The hole continues to enlarge and rise toward the crest of the right abutment. It was determined that this did not contribute to the failure.

the center row of grout. The review panel also found that the construction of the grout curtain differed from the original design. which is to live. then grout the row of holes upstream. and then grout the center row of holes. due to the fact that the grout curtain was not fully effective. duties towards environment. The focus is on earning profits. The 7 . the spacing between the holes was not as specified and gaps were more likely to be present (Independent Panel. humanity. as compacted in the dam. permitted continuous erosion channels (pipes) to be formed in the core without any evidence of their existence becoming visibleµ (Independent Panel. This procedure was not followed during construction and the closure between the two outer rows. However. 1976). the pressure beneath the key trench was less than full reservoir pressure. What about the basic right of very human being. which meant more rapid erosion could occur (Arthur. Second. and improving life styles. However. hydraulic fracturing may have been a factor in the initial breaching of the key trench fill (Independent Panel. In other words. The key trench contained a grout cap overlying a grout curtain that was intended to stop the flow. Lessons Learned Bhopal Disaster These days we hear a lot about growing economy. 1977). 1976). whether he is rich or poor. but the investigation found openings and windows in the grout curtain near the failure section. Another impact on the erosion was that the topography near the key trench showed that the foundation was probably poorly compacted. spreading businesses. expanding industries. not earning pleasure or happiness. Another factor was the poor compaction of the aeolian silt fill material. III. surging profits. 1976). It was compacted at less than the optimum moisture content. the failure was probably not due to hydraulic fracturing. 1976). erosion by direct contact could have occurred where water was in contact with open joints and thirdly.material could have caused backward erosion. Another cause of failure investigated was hydraulic fracturing near the leaks in the dam. where there was direct contact through cracks in the fill itself. Hydraulic fracturing causes cracking when the sum of the normal and tensile stresses exceeds the porewater pressure. This was determined not to play a major role in the failure since this process occurs very slowly. The intended grouting procedure was to first grout the row of holes downstream. It was determined that these last two were possible and were probably occurring simultaneously (Independent Panel. Also. there is no way to determine if that had an impact on the erosion. It was determined that due to the cracks that had already existed. The ´material. shrinking distances. But what about social responsibilities. was not made.

1977). It was determined that the people involved acted responsibly and were not punished for their involvement. The lessons learned also have implications for engineering education.aim is to earn status not respect. child labor etc. professional and procedural factors also influenced the course of events. our duties towards next generation. The Bureau did not immediately inform the public due to fear of panic and there were initially no signs of imminent danger. Think about our responsibilities. and did not ensure sealing of the upper part of the rock under the grout cap. And this outlook has not changed even today rather intensified.  Educational Aspects This case demonstrates the importance of engineering geology and geotechnical engineering for civil engineering students. It is high time to act for the betterment of planet earth. In addition to the technical aspects of the failure. the water of rivers is no more drinkable.  Technical Aspects The design of Teton Dam did not provide for downstream defense against cracking or leakage. This Tragedy is still in the memory of public because of its huge toll. Every now and then we hear about violation of human rights. In the design and construction of earth dams. Who is responsible for this one. certainly is the society. Every now or then we hear about a new disease. The cost saving approach costed thousands of lives. Teton Dam Failure The lessons learned from this case may be divided into two categories.  Professional/Procedural Aspects At the first sign of a problem the people at the dam site informed the Bureau of Reclamation. The government compensation can·t bring life for a dead. Finally. what are the implications of industrial and business activities. dams must have sufficient instrumentation to provide early warning of piping and impending failure 8 . But society does not remember those numerous accidents and ill effects of industrialization that happen daily at small scale. Engineering geology is important for evaluation of the suitability of foundation and borrow or fill materials. Everyone follows the herd mentality even without where they are heading to. where the society is leading to. Money can·t buy happiness. it is necessary to select proper materials that are sufficiently resistant to piping and to ensure that they are compacted to the proper density. Our criterion for measurement of success is money not happiness. The dam and foundation were not instrumented sufficiently to warn of changing conditions. The design should incorporated adequate defense against cracking and leakage. The whole tragedy happened because of the profit oriented outlook of the company and ignorance of safety standards. but the public was warned about 45 minutes before the collapse (Arthur. The atmosphere is getting severely polluted.

society and nature sustainable development. W.G.IV. Bureau of Reclamation. Building Big. Y. they can be defined as human-made disaster which are caused by human action. The Evaluation of Dam Safety: Engineering Foundation Conference Proceedings. New York. New Jersey. W. New York. and 31. (1995) ´Geology Applied to E ngineering.S. The disaster mitigation works that published by the government is a systemic work which involves with different regions. Department of the Interior and State of Idaho on Failure of Teton Dam . (1977).µ Prentice Hall. New York. U. health. Government must concern for the devastating and increasing impact of natural and man-made disasters on human News Release (online) av ailable 6/5/2001 (2001).usbr. 1976 Levy.html> 9 Teton Basic Project. Pacific Northwest Region. Idaho. early warning systems. Mario (1992). Matthys. December 1976 Macauley. 61 -71 Independent Panel to Review Cause of Teton Dam Failure (1976). New York. < http://www. No country can afford to ignore the lessons of Bhopal Tragedy and Teton Dam failure. Bureau of Reclamation. different professions and different scientific fields. risk mitigation and post disaster recovery and reconstruction. H. Idaho. and has become an important measure for human. infrastructure and economies. ´Teton Dam Failureµ. (2000). 5. . From the example of disasters above. it is possible to reduce the impact of disaster by adopting suitable disaster mitigationµ Hearings Before a Subcommittee on Government Operations House of Representatives. 6. or involving the failure of a system. negligence.usbr. Why Buildings Fall Down. Second Session.shtml ´The Failure of Teton Dam. D. Though it may not be feasible to control nature and to stop the development of natural phenomena but the efforts be made to avoid disasters and alleviate their effects on human lives. Opinion as a Government Employee A disaster is the tragedy of a natural or human made hazard (situation which poses a threat to life.µ U. N. New York. Report to the U. 94 th Congress.S. West. Lower Teton Houghton Mifflin Company. Norton & Company. infrastructure and property.S. Government at the national. ´Teton Dam Disaster. and Salvadori. Bhopal tragedy and Teton Dam failure are technological disasters which are the results of failure technology that created as the consequence of inappropriately managed risk. References: Arthur. Madison and Teton Counties . Terry R. property. (1983) Fremont. Idaho Falls. ASCE. dam web site http://www. Bureau of Reclamation. regional dan international levels should have an action to strengthen disaster management through increased capacity for disaster preparedness. August.S. or environment) that negatively affects society or environment. U.

geol.html> ´Teton Dam Floodµ (2002).edu/~arthur/Teton%20Dam/ <http://www.- ´Teton Dam Failureµ (2002).ida. 23.htm> (Dec.ucsb. 2002) Survivor's account - 10 . <http://www.

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