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Award of Merit: Longevity Category

Baldwin Reservoir Project
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Cleveland, Ohio

Submitted by Sika Corporation

Baldwin Reservoir

City of Cleveland Division 
of Water
Cleveland, Ohio

Project Engineer/

City of Cleveland Division 
of Water
Cleveland, Ohio

Material Supplier/

Sika Corporation
Lyndhurst, New Jersey

The Baldwin Treated Water Reservoir was designed and constructed between 1918 and 1924 and placed in service in 1925. At 1035 ft long by 500 ft wide and 40 ft high from the floor to the crown of the groined arch roof, the twin underground basins make for one of the largest covered concrete reservoirs in the U.S.

The reservoir’s elegant arched roof was designed using the geometric character of the arch shape to support both the roof’s weight and the loads above it. This way, all vertical loads are transferred into compressive thrusts acting through the concrete arch roof. Since an arch functions primarily by transmitting forces through compression there are compressive stresses generated in the arch throughout the entire reservoir roof. The original designers cleverly utilized concrete’s compressive resistance ability to absorb and transmit the compressive force to the reservoir’s perimeter structural walls without reinforcing the entire roof structure. Standing safe and sound for the last 80 years, the Baldwin Reservoir helps provide high quality drinking water every day to Cleveland and surrounding suburbs.

In February 1993, after a routine inspection, the Water District was notified that a large quantity of potable water was found in a nearby storm drain. It was later confirmed that this water was leaking through cracks in the floor of Baldwin Reservoir. A complete investigation revealed a series of cracks in the non-reinforced concrete arched roof. The analysis indicated that the distress was due to seasonal thermal expansion and contraction of the roof structure.

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