Location

Arlington, Virginia

Session Start Date

8-11-2008

Session End Date

8-16-2008

Abstract

The Taum Sauk Pumped Storage Powerplant was constructed between 1960-63 to store water for generation during peak daytime power demands. The plant consists of a lower reservoir, which is sited along the East Fork of the Black River, and an upper reservoir, formed by a kidney-shaped rockfill dike approximately 70 to 90 ft high, capped by a 10 ft concrete parapet wall. The upper reservoir held 1.5 billion gallons (~4,600 acre-feet) when filled. A variety of design/construction flaws, instrumentation error, and human errors contributed to a catastrophic failure of the upper reservoir on Dec 14, 2005. Malfunctioning and improperly programmed/placed sensors failed to indicate that the reservoir was full and didn’t shut down the facility’s pumps until water had been overflowing for 5-6 minutes. This overflow undermined the parapet wall and scoured the underlying embankment, leading to a complete failure within ~5-6 minutes. The peak flow from this event is estimated at 289,000 cfs.

Department(s)

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Appears In

International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering

Meeting Name

Sixth Conference

Publisher

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

8-11-2008

Document Version

Final Version

Rights

© 2008 Missouri University of Science and Technology, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

File Type

text

Language

English

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Overview of the Taum Sauk Pumped Storage Power Plant Upper Reservoir Failure, Reynolds County, MO

Arlington, Virginia

The Taum Sauk Pumped Storage Powerplant was constructed between 1960-63 to store water for generation during peak daytime power demands. The plant consists of a lower reservoir, which is sited along the East Fork of the Black River, and an upper reservoir, formed by a kidney-shaped rockfill dike approximately 70 to 90 ft high, capped by a 10 ft concrete parapet wall. The upper reservoir held 1.5 billion gallons (~4,600 acre-feet) when filled. A variety of design/construction flaws, instrumentation error, and human errors contributed to a catastrophic failure of the upper reservoir on Dec 14, 2005. Malfunctioning and improperly programmed/placed sensors failed to indicate that the reservoir was full and didn’t shut down the facility’s pumps until water had been overflowing for 5-6 minutes. This overflow undermined the parapet wall and scoured the underlying embankment, leading to a complete failure within ~5-6 minutes. The peak flow from this event is estimated at 289,000 cfs.