HOME   WISE Uranium Project   >   Tailings Dam Safety   >   Issues   >

The Stava tailings dam failure (Trento, Italy)

(last updated 13 May 2009)

Contents:


The dam failure and its impacts

On July 19, 1985, a fluorite tailings dam of Prealpi Mineraia failed at Stava, Trento, Italy. 200,000 m3 of tailings flowed 4.2 km downstream at a speed of up to 90 km/h, killing 268 people and destroying 62 buildings. The total surface area affected was 43.5 hectares.

The tailings dam consisted of two basins built on a slope. The failure started at 12.22:55 h with a collapse of the up-slope basin. The inflow of the released material caused the overtopping and subsequent collapse of the lower basin. The resulting slurry wave travelled to Stava at a speed of 30 km/h; later it reached 90 km/h.

Before the dam failure:
Stava aerial view before dam failure - Scroll down!
After the dam failure:
Stava aerial view after dam failure - Scroll down!
Aerial photos: Permit of the general staff of the Italian Air Force No. 01-120 and No. 01-121 of March 22, 1995

 

> Aerial view animation of Stava slurry wave:

 

> for details, see: Foundation Stava 1985 external link

 

The causes of the dam failure

R.J. Chandler and G. Tosatti (see literature) conclude that the dams were constructed with an unacceptably low factor of safety and that the failure probably was triggered by a blocked decant pipe located within the tailings.

> for details, see: Foundation Stava 1985 external link

 

The aftermath of the dam failure

> for details, see: Foundation Stava 1985 external link


Resources

Maps:

Views:

News + Infos:

Company

Government

Academic

Environmental NGOs

Press

Literature


> For Italian-English translations, check Babelfish external link ! <

HOME   WISE Uranium Project   >   Tailings Dam Safety   >   Issues   >