Atwater Treatment Plant

Where: Montréal, PQ.

Engineer: Georges Janin / Charles J. des Baillets

Date of construction: 1911 -1918 / 1921 -1941

Atwater Treatment Plant (Aqueduc de Montréal) (Source: commons.wikimedia.org)

New Pumping Station (Low Level) – looking east. Sept. 22, 1923. (Source: Ville de Montréal)

Site Location: Lat.: 45 – 28 – 22 N; Long.: 73 – 34 -20 W. (GPS: 45.4728937, -73.5721497). 3161 St. Joseph, Verdun. On the west side of Atwater/St. Joseph Streets, immediately south of the Autoroute 15/20 Atwater exit. Visitors must use entrance at 999 Dupuis Street.

Visitor’s entrance at 999 rue Dupuis. (Source: C. Katsanis)

Plaque Location: The plaque is located inside the building identified as “Porte No. 25”, on the left wall of the lobby as shown below. Visitors will need to be escorted to the building.

Porte No. 25 building. (Source: C. Katsanis)
Plaque installed on interior wall. (Source: C. Katsanis)
Prefilter Piping North side of Gallery Sept. 2, 1913. (Source: Ville de Montréal)

Description: Thomas C. Keefer designed the original pumping station on this site, which opened in 1856 to provide the first public water supply for the City of Montréal. To further improve the health of its citizens, the city undertook the construction of the Atwater Treatment Plant between 1911 and 1918 under the supervision of Georges Janin. Charles J. des Baillets, Chief Engineer of the City of Montréal between 1921 and 1941, oversaw the construction the construction of a new pumping station between 1921 and 1923. The plant capacity was initially 200,000 m3 per day and, after several upgrades, the capacity is now 1.36 million m3 per day.

General view of construction ca. 1916. (Source: Archives de la Ville de Montréal)

Historic Significance: The Montréal water distribution system was initially proposed in 1853 by Thomas C. Keefer, first president of the CSCE. He envisaged a pumping station at the end of the aqueduct canal, powered by two water wheels driven by the canal current, to pump water to a reservoir on Mount Royal for distribution to the city by gravity. The Atwater Treatment Plant has undergone expansion and modernization since its original construction, but several of its original engineering works still operate to produce high quality drinking water. The pumping and filtration buildings are classified as having “Exceptional Heritage Value” by the City of Montréal.

Plaque detail. (Source: C. Katsanis)

Plaque Wording: Site Historique National du Génie Civil. USINE DE PRODUCTION D’EAU POTABLE ATWATER. Inaugurée en 1856, la station de pompage de l’époque fut à l’origine du premier système d’approvisionnement en eau potable de la ville de Montréal. Afin d’améliorer la santé de ses citoyens, la ville construisit l’usine de production d’eau potable Atwater entre 1911 et 1918 et un nouvelle station de pompage entre 1921 et 1923. Cette usine continue de jouer un role clé dans l’approvisionnement en eau potable et elle est un hommage aux ingénieurs civil qui l’ont conçue et construite. Conception des premiers ouvrages, 1853-56 Ingénieur Thomas C. Keefer. Construction de l’usine des filtres 1911-18 Ingénieur Georges Janin. Construction de la station de pompage, 1921-23 Ingénieur Charles J. Des Baillets. La société canadienne de genie civil. 2013.

National Historic Civil Engineering Site. CSCE. ATWATER WATER TREATMENT PLANT. The original pumping station on this site, opened in 1856, provided the first public water supply for the City of Montréal. To further improve the health of its citizens the city undertook the construction of the Atwater Treatment Plant between 1911 and 1918 and the construction of a new pumping station between 1921 and 1923. This plant continues to play a key role in the provision of safe drinking water. It is a lasting tribute to the civil engineers responsible for its design and construction. Thomas C. Keefer Engineer Design of the Original Works, 1853-56. Georges Janin Engineer Construction of the Filtration Plant, 1911-18. Charles J. Des Baillets Engineer Construction of the Pumping Station, 1921-23. 2013. Canadian Society for Civil Engineering.

Link to Online Documentation:

“Atwater Treatment Plant”, Canadian Civil Engineer, 2013. (see page 10).
Nicolas Bednarz, “Hommage à notre vénérabke aqueduct”, Archivesdemontreal.com, 2013
French nomination document is excellent, get it online and linked.

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