Ep 72 Mount Polley Tailings Pond Breach

Engineering News – Moving Objects with Ultrasound Waves (3:45)

This week's engineering failure is the Mount Polley Tailings Pond Breach (6:05). After years of ad hoc embankment expansion (9:30), the tailing pond breached on August 4, 2014. Following an independent investigation panel review (17:10) geoscientists and engineers were found liable for the failure (28:35). 


Engineering News

Mount Polley Tailings Pond Breach

Episode Summary

Hi and welcome to Failurology; a podcast about engineering failures.  I’m your host, Nicole

And I’m Brian. And we’re both from Calgary, AB. 

This week in engineering news, Moving Objects with Ultrasound Waves.

Now on to this week’s engineering failure; the Mount Polley Tailing Dam Breach.

I would say this is a more complicated failure than the typical dam failures we’ve covered. It’s also more geotechnical than others because the reports used a lot more dirt words that I had to look up. Sometimes I wonder about other disciplines, but I think it’s clear, dirt is not for me. 

Dam Construction

Independent Investigation Panel


 So there you have it, the Mount Polley Tailing Pond Breach. An undetected soil layer and inexperienced design choices led to a breach of the tailing pond in August 2014 and serious consequences for three licensed professionals. 

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