VMS Case Study: Water Flow Through an Earthen Dam

diagram showing installation of Sensoll's VMS and alarm alert when seepage detected in earthen dam.

Case study: Water Flow Through an Earthen Dam (ICL Group Ltd. ICL: NYSE)

An earthen dam, standing at ~12 meters in height and spanning around 80 meters in width, was strategically constructed for flood control along a stream channel prone to sudden and intense flash floods.
Sensoil’s Vadose zone Monitoring Solution, with SaaS and data analyses, was integrated to enhance the dam’s monitoring capabilities.

Detecting Seepage by Monitoring Moisture Levels in the Dam

During the flood event on the 6th May 2014, the VMS‘ continuous monitoring of the dam’s water content revealed a notable increase in moisture levels at a specific sensor location.
In this particular section of the dam, the sediment at a depth of 8 meters transitioned from initially dry values (17%) to nearly saturated values (30%) in the immediate aftermath of the flood. It’s noteworthy that the sensors positioned at a greater depth of 10 meters did not register any changes in water content during this period.

This increase in water content, indicating horizontal water flow across the dam, could not have been discerned through other means such as piezometers since saturation did not appear at the deeper sections of the dam.

Monitor Stability. Prevent Catastrophe.

Sensoil’s VMS data collected and analyzed in real-time, played a pivotal role in swiftly identifying a specific zone within the dam, where horizontal water flow occurred. This identified zone posed a potential weak point for the stability of the earthen dam.

In essence, the utilization of the Sensoil’s VMS solution, not only enabled the early detection of horizontal water flow, a critical factor in assessing dam integrity, but also highlighted the system’s capacity to provide instantaneous insights, especially when compared to traditional monitoring methods.