American Society of Civil Engineers


Factor and Cluster Analyses of Water Chemistry in and around a Large Rockfill Dam: Implications for Water Leakage


by Jin-Yong Lee, (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Geology, Kangwon National Univ., Chuncheon 200-701, Republic of Korea.), Hyoung-Soo Kim, (corresponding author), (Associate Professor, JungWon Univ., Energy Resources Engineering, 5 Dongbu-ri, Goesan-eub, Goesan-gun, Chungbuk 367-805, Republic of Korea E-mail: hskim@jwu.ac.kr), Seong-Taek Yun, (Professor, Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Environmental Geosphere Research Lab (EGRL), Korea Univ., Seoul 136-701, Republic of Korea.), and Jang-Soon Kwon, (Researcher, Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Environmental Geosphere Research Lab (EGRL), Korea Univ., Seoul 136-701, Republic of Korea.)

Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Vol. 135, No. 9, September 2009, pp. 1254-1263, (doi:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943-5606.0000039)

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Based on water chemistry data, a rockfill dam in South Korea was investigated to identify major parts of substantial dam water leakage. Sinkholes in the dam crest and abnormal water leakage through the dam were observed since the first impounding of the dam. Previous investigations, including observational drillings, hydraulic tests, geophysical surveys, and tracer tests, revealed the development of a high permeability zone in the clay core and an abnormally high phreatic line zone in the left embankment. Sequential tracer tests provided further evidence of locations of preference and rapid water leakage pathways. In this study, we examined the usefulness of water chemistry data to confirm previous findings of water leakage. Factor analysis of the water chemistry data revealed major processes controlling the chemical composition, which include the wash-out and successive dissolution of fill materials in the dam interior, interaction between percolating water and dam core materials, and contamination of seeping water by grouting materials and previous tracer tests. Distinct spatial distribution of similar chemical groups was illustrated by cluster analysis and confirmed the location of major water leakage at the left abutment adjoining the spillway.


ASCE Subject Headings:
Chemical properties
Groundwater
Leakage
Rock-fill dams
Sinkholes
South Korea
Statistics