EXP’s Earth & Environmental and Infrastructure groups worked in partnership with Cecchetto & Sons Ltd. to provide detailed design engineering services and construction quality assurance related to the design-build of a new concrete gravity dam to replace Vale’s Wabagishik Side Dams A and B in Sudbury, Ontario.

The dams are located on a topographic low point on a separate bay upstream of the reservoir for Vale’s Wabagishik Power Plant on Ella Lake (Vermillion River).

Several independent reviews found the original dams were in very poor to severe condition and had inadequate freeboards for future head pond operations. The preferred rehabilitation option selected by Vale was to construct a new concrete gravity dam located downstream from the existing dams, which were used as cofferdams during the construction stage. With the new dam completed, these cofferdams were removed in July 2022.

“The structural stability of a gravity dam is achieved mainly by its weight from the concrete mass,” said project manager, water resources and dam engineer Mauricio Del Olmo Gil. “The Wabagishik Dam was entirely founded on a sound bedrock and needed over 6,700 cubic meters of concrete to give the dam stability. The EXP team collected a total of 191 sets of five concrete cylinders for the entire concrete dam, which were tested for compressive strength at the EXP’s materials laboratory in the Sudbury office.”


EXP, as the designer of record, provided dam, structural, geotechnical, and environmental engineering services and provided Issued for Construction (IFC) drawings for the access roads, crane pads, dam foundation slab and rock treatment, concrete gravity dam and details, sediment and erosion control plans, water management during construction, and final demolition activities. During construction and demolition activities, EXP provided full-time supervision, quality assurance and engineering support. As a close out of the project, EXP submitted the As-Built Report and the corresponding drawings.

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Featured image: (EXP)


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