Publication Abstract

Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference on Deep Foundations, 2014, Atlanta, GA, USA, (DFI)

Role of Probabilistic Methods in Sustainable Geotechnical Levee Integrity Analysis
Hamed Hamedifar, Ph.D., Risk Advisory Services Robert G. Bea, Ph.D., P.E., F. & Life Member, ASCE, Juan M. Pestana- Nascimento, Sc.D., P.E., MASCE and Emery M. Roe, Ph.D., UC Berkeley

The current State-of-the-Practice is grounded heavily on deterministic characterization and assessment of the performance of civil engineering infrastructure. In particular, flood defense systems, such as levees, have been evaluated within the context of the Factor-of-Safety where the computed capacity of the system is compared with the code specified demand forces. Uncertainties associated with the capacity and demand forces render deterministic modeling incomplete. In particular, two structures with the same Factor of Safety can have vastly different probabilities of failure. While efforts have been made to assess levee vulnerability, results from traditional engineering approaches omit important factors because they do not account for uncertainties included in analytical modeling, and natural variabilities, or human and organization factors. This paper utilizes risk assessment methods to advance methods for quantifying the contribution of uncertainties to engineering analyses, and thereby provide additional information to help assess sustainability of geotechnically engineered systems. The probability of failure of a geotechnically engineered system is directly impacted by how well the system is understood, and how uncertainties are incorporated in development of understanding of the system. This paper presents methods to evaluate two types of uncertainties for three potential failure modes of flood protection levees: underseepage, slope (or levee) instability, and overtopping/erosion. These analyses account for two types of uncertainty: 1) Type I – inherent uncertainty, 2) Type II – analytical modeling uncertainty. Human and organizational task performance and information development and utilization uncertainties are not included in these analyses. This paper focuses on the behavior of the flood protection levee system for Sherman Island, a western island in California’s Delta. Sherman Island is of critical importance to California because of the very important infrastructure systems that pass under, on, over, and adjacent to Sherman Island, including: natural gas pipelines, regional and interregional electricity transmission lines and telecommunication facilities, two deepwater shipping channels; and State Highway 160, a link between major transportation expressways. The work evaluates current (year 2010) and future conditions (year 2100) and incorporates variations in capacity and demand arising from projected human response activities and global climate change.

 article #1989; publication #1011 (AM-2014)