Environmental Earth Sciences

, 77:791 | Cite as

Detection of leakage paths at the Wanyao dam body in Southwest China by hydrochemical analysis and tracer testing

  • Yong HuangEmail author
  • Xiaolan Hou
  • Zhimin Fu
  • Jinguo Wang
Original Article


Leakage at the Wanyao dam body was studied using a combined approach of field exploration, hydrochemical analysis and tracer testing. The objective of study was to determine the location of the water leakage paths at the dam. A hydraulic connection was observed between exploration boreholes of dam crest and drain holes at drainage gallery during the period of drilling. This connection shows that there were some defects in the dam. The hydrochemical compositions and characteristics of the water samples involved the main anions and cations, total dissolved solids, electrical conductivity, pH and water temperature which were analyzed and evaluated by correlation and cluster analysis. The results indicated that a close hydraulic connection existed between water from the dam body and reservoir water, particularly reservoir water from Sections III and IX. Tracer testing results demonstrated further existence of leakage paths between reservoir water and Sections III and IX. Also, there were multiple leakage paths in Section IX compared with a single path of Section III. Furthermore, the leakage location of upstream concrete faces in the vertical and horizontal directions was determined accurately with the measured electrical conductivity of receiving points. The experimental data provide a strong foundation and basis for maintaining and reinforcing the dam.


Leakage paths Tracer testing Hydrochemical analysis Electrical conductivity 



This study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41572209) and sponsored by Qing Lan Project of Jiangsu province (2016B16073).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth Science and EngineeringHohai UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Hydrology and water resourcesHohai UniversityNanjingChina

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