Roddy, B & Howard, E 2016, 'Hydrological function of berms within a waste landform design', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2016: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 63-74, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_rep/1608_01_Roddy
Berms remain a persistent feature in waste dump landform designs as they are perceived to provide the benefits of reduced slope length, protection against future batter erosion by partitioning the slope with level or backsloping berms, and reduced flow velocity. Underpinning this rationale is the belief that the berms will be a permanent and unchanging feature that controls erosion over the long term. These assumptions are not true. Berms begin to evolve immediately after their construction by trapping sediment and having a beneficial effect over the short to medium term. Longer term, berms fill with sediment and overtop. The time it takes to overtop depends on the material, the size of the berm, and the climate. Once a berm is breached, previously hydraulically disconnected batter sections become a connected flow network that delivers large volumes of runoff from upper slopes to lower slopes that were never designed to withstand them. This process can be caused, or contributed to, by poor quality construction techniques.
Keywords: landlform design, erosion, soils, berms
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