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Award of Excellence: Longevity Category

Winnipeg Aqueduct Water-Leakage Repair
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Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Submitted by Vector Construction, Ltd.

Winnipeg Aqueduct

City of Winnipeg,
Water and Waste
Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Project Engineer/

CH2M Hill
Toronto, ON, Canada

Repair Contractor
Vector Construction, Ltd.
Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Material Suppliers/

Specton Construction
Products, Ltd.
Acton, ON, Canada

The Winnipeg Aqueduct is a unique structure that has supplied the city of Winnipeg with 100% of its water supply since the 1920s. It is a 90 mile (140 km) long unreinforced cast-in-place concrete arch pipe. One of the unique features of the aqueduct is that it transports the water entirely by gravity flow (no pumping along its length).

In the early 1980s, a study was undertaken to assess the future of Winnipeg’s water supply. It was determined that the future requirements would exceed the present delivery capacity through the aqueduct. Two options were considered: 1) building a second aqueduct at a huge capital cost; or 2) increasing the capacity of the existing structure by reducing the losses being experienced along the aqueduct due to leakage, and to structurally upgrade the aqueduct where required.

Once the decision was made to repair the structure, an engineering study was done to assess its condition. The study found that that there was a series of leaking cracks and leaking joints that were allowing water to leak out of the pipe and unwanted groundwater to leak in. As part of the rehabilitation it was decided the crack must be sealed to stop the flow of water both in and out.

The project began with a trial project in 1994 where it was decided to perform the work using urethane chemical grouting. The project continued over 10 years and in total injected over 150,000 ft (45,720 m) of crack and joint were injected using over 25,000 gal. (94,635 L) of urethane chemical grout.

The city of Winnipeg still has a reliable water supply thanks to this project, and repairing the existing structure instead of rebuilding saved money as well.

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