Seepage through Homogenous and Non-Homogenous Earth Dams: Comparison Between Observation and Simulation


Thamer Ahmed Mohammed

B. B. K. Huat, A. A. Aziz, H. Omar, S. Maail

Megat Johari, Megat Mohd. Noor


Failure of earth dams can be caused by seepage piping, foundation instability, deformation and deterioration, and from earthquakes. However, most of the recorded failures around the world are related to seepage problems. In this study, two earth dams located in Malaysia were studied. The Labong Dam was a non-homogenous earth dam, whilst the Bukit Merah Dam was a homogenous earth dam. The performances of both dams against seepage were studied through the analyses of both observed and simulated phreatic surfaces. Simulations of seepage rate and phreatic surfaces through the dam were conducted using a numerical model, SEEP/W. The study showed that the SEEP/W model was able to predict (simulate) both the seepage rates and phreatic surfaces of the homogeneous and non-homogeneous earth dams. The Absolute Error (AE) between the predicted and observed seepage rates of both dams were found to be 0.03 m3/min to 0.18 m3/min. The average AE in the predicted phreatic surfaces for the maximum and minimum water levels in the reservoir were 0.6 m and 0.38 m for the non-homogeneous dam (Labong Dam), and 0.595 m and 0.75 m for the homogeneous (Bukit Merah Dam).

Keywords: Earth dam, Homogenous, non-homogenous, seepage, phreatic surface

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