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Toby Talks – Advanced Dewatering Workshop

On 10th December 2019, WJ Canada hosted a workshop on Advanced Dewatering, which was attended by around 90 people in the industry.

Our Executive Chairman, Dr Toby Roberts FREng PhD CEng CGeol FICE FGS, and Professor William Powrie FREng MA MSc PhD CEng FICE (Professor of Geotechnical Engineering, University of Southampton) were flown in to Toronto, and they invited fellow construction, development and engineering professionals to hear them speak about advanced dewatering.

Joining us on the day included attendees from companies within the sector such as Ellis Don, PCL, Eastern, SNC Lavalin, AECOM, Kiewit, EXP, Hatch, Keller, Pomerleau, Dufferin, Ledcor, Graham, SKYGRID, Aecon, GHD, Stantec, Kenaidan, Clearway, Maple Reinders, Collecdev, One Properties and Kilmer Brownfield Equity.

The venue for the workshop was the fantastic Weston Golf and Country Club, who provided us with excellent hospitality. It was just a shame the cold weather prevented us and our guests getting out for a round on the pristine course! (Maybe next time).

The guests gathered in a superbly presented function room, and the agenda for the day was shared. After a quick introduction to WJ Canada by Mark Burack, the stage was taken by Prof. William Powrie who spoke about why we need dewatering, breaking it down into smaller, more precise sections.

It was then time for Dr. Roberts to deliver his insight on extracting the groundwater, and taking the attendees through examples across Ireland, UK, Middle East and Canada. These examples included techniques ranging from sump pumping, through to ejector systems.

A range of pumping methods can be used for dewatering

A break was then taken to stretch legs and mingle with the other guests about the first two sections of the workshop before settling back down to hear more.

Workmen stare worryingly at a cracked wall

Professor Powrie welcomed guests back with a breakdown of how fine soils are different for dewatering, and how you can avoid settlement, then followed again by Dr. Roberts and an interesting piece on groundwater strategy. As he spoke through his slides, we arrived at a comedic moment, as he showed an image of some workmen looking worryingly at a break in one of their project’s walls, and water is pouring through!

After a break for lunch, the final two sections were presented by Prof. Powrie once more, as he showed the group case studies from the UK on permeability and inhomogeneity, then Tony Tomory from WJ Canada closed off with details on the regulatory environment in Toronto, groundwater treatment and an update on our work at ECLRT (Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit).

The day was rounded off with an open forum, where the attendees were given the chance to ask the WJ engineering panel questions on challenging projects from the past.

It was a fantastic success, owing to the great venue, and participation of the attendees. We’d like to say a big thank you to all who did attend the event, and a special thanks to Professor William Powrie from the University of Southampton, who joined us in sharing expertise.

Emma TrillToby Talks – Advanced Dewatering Workshop
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