Measurand engineers travelled to the largest tailings facility in Europe while Measurand distributor, Budokop Sp. z o.o., installed a 156-metre SAAV model ShapeArray to monitor deformation. The tailings facility at Zelazny Most, Poland stores copper tailings in a confining embankment dam ‘ring dam’ that measures approximately 14.3 km in length.
Construction on the dam began in 1977 and is planned to continue until 2042 when the nearby copper reserves are exhausted. Continual raising of the crest has increased the height to approximately 60 metres above the original ground surface.
Monitoring subsurface deformation at the site is especially important because of the area’s complex geological conditions. During the ice age, at least three major glaciations passed over in the area, which left the soil and clay deposits from the period “intensely sheared, folded and generally severely disturbed” . The resulting deposits “exhibit an extremely pronounced spatial variability, making the formulation of realistic geological and geotechnical models impracticable” . Thus, owners KGHM Polska Miedz rely heavily on real-time instrumentation data to ensure the dam is performing within design limits.
An extensive suite of geotechnical instrumentation monitors the site continuously. SAAV was installed into a partially sheared and spiralled inclinometer casing that manual inclinometers could no longer enter to take readings.
 M. Jamiolkowski, “Soil mechanics and the observational method: challenges at the Zelazny Most copper tailings disposal facility,” Géotechnique, vol. 64, no. 8, pp. 590–618, Jun. 2014.