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CIVI 6511 Earth Structures

and Slope Stability

Instructor: Dr. A.M. Zsaki

Department of Building, Civil and Environmental


Engineering
Concordia University

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Monitoring Embankments and
Slopes!
Dams should not be operated
unwatched
Regularly scheduled inspections are
mandatory
All in situ instrumentation should
be simple, robust, easy to install,
durable and easy to read (remote
logging)

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Monitoring Embankments and
Slopes!
The following should be monitored
(in order of importance):
Seepage
Deformation (settlement and stability)
Groundwater pressure (pore water
pressure)
Temperature (permafrost)
Seismic events
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Monitoring Embankments and
Slopes!
Site Construction Operation Long term
investigation/ performance
Design
Groundwater Piezometer
level

Temperature Thermistor
(permafrost)

Frost depth Frost depth


(staged indicator
construction of (methylene blue)
dam cores)
Seepage/ Weirs
internal erosion Piezometers
(piping) Visual

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Monitoring Embankments and
Slopes!
Site Construction Operation Long term
investigation/ performance
Design

Settlement Piezometers Visual


Surveying
Extensometers
Visual
Stability Piezometers Visual
Surveying
Inclinometers
Crack gauges
Visual
Condition of Piezometers
filters and Visual
drains

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Visual Inspection!
Periodic visual inspections are an
important part of dam surveillance
and monitoring
Preferably done by the same
persons
Photographs for record

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Visual Inspection!
Visual inspection checklist:
Soft zones and sand boils along the toe
(evidence of developing quick
condition, leading to piping and wash-
out type of failure)
Dirty, sediment laden seeping water
(piping and internal erosion)
Increased seepage rates and new areas
of seepage (adverse internal change)

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Visual Inspection!
Visual inspection checklist (contd):
Longitudinal cracks across the crest of
the dam (slumping and slope
instability)
Transverse cracks across the crest of
the dam (differential settlement)
Settlement (reduced freeboard)
Bulge on the lower part of the dam
(slope instability, slumping, lateral
spreading)
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Visual Inspection!
Visual inspection checklist (contd):
Condition of spillways, decant
structures and pipes (possibility of
wash-out type of failure)
Condition of riprap (protects against
run-off and flowing water)
Animal holes and vegetation

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Monitoring Embankments and
Slopes!
Seepage can lead to internal erosion and
slope/dam failure
Groundwater pressure, piezometers:
Permeable soil -> standpipe
Low-permeability soil -> pneumatic, vibrating
wire or twin tube hydraulic
Deformation (settlement/stability)
Slope IndicatorTM

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Monitoring Embankments and
Slopes!
Temperature - depth of frost
penetration is important for water
retaining cores of dams (freeze/
thaw cycles increase permeability)

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Reporting!
Reservoir water level and tail water level
Weather conditions
Drawdown facilities
Plan and typical cross-section for markup
Geology, faults and mining
Access
History - age, design, usage, crest raising and
modifications
Abandonment plans
Records of previous inspection

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