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WJ Groundwater Canada | 2

WJ Groundwater Canada:

Tunnel Masters

WJGC self-performs 90 percent of its work and offers multiple services across an array of industry sectors. Written by Kevin Doyle Produced by Stephen Marino


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ormed in 2016 under the umbrella of London-based WJ Groundwater to execute the Eglinton Crosstown LRT Project in Toronto, WJ Groundwater Canada (WJ Canada) benefitted from its parent company’s more than 30 years involvement with some of the largest infrastructure projects in the UK, Europe and Qatar. Most notable among WJ Groundwater’s European projects is Crossrail in London, a 118-kilometre (73-mile) new tunnel through central London for Crosslinks of Toronto. WJ Canada worked on the Stations, Cross Passages, tunnels between the system’s drive tunnels that house control equipment, sumps and emergency evacuation access sites. “It was a challenging and gratifying project and it was exciting to be involved in this innovative phase of London’s transport history,” says Tony Tomory, WJ Canada’s Country Director. WJGC self-performs 90 percent of its work and offers dewatering and groundwater control, drilling and probing, ground source energy systems, monitoring, remediation and treatment, and testing services across an array of industry sectors. The company provides design, installation and maintenance programs to its clients and can draw upon the expertise of its parent company, which has more than 35 years’ experience


WJ Groundwater Canada | 4 working on projects globally. The company sets itself apart with its use of cutting-edge equipment, its technical and innovative approach to problem solving and, Tomory says, “a can-do attitude in working with the client.”

Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit WJ Canada’s performance on Crossrail led directly to its involvement as a subcontractor on the $40 million Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit

WJ Groundwater Canada | 5 (ECLRT) scheme in Toronto. The project has occupied most of WJ Canada’s time since its inception, working on nine underground stations and represented the largest and most challenging dewatering project in the country. WJ Canada has only just recently begun to work on projects outside this mega project. “We came out because we were invited by Crosslinx. They asked us to bid on the dewatering in Canada. We bid on four of the stations initially, and went on to win nine of them,” says Tomory. “A lot of our work is done with up-to-date modern technology that we developed working all over the

world and we used those technologies in Canada with Crosslinx [that] we developed over the last 10 years.” The project consisted of 19.7 kilometres of light rail transit running along Eglinton Avenue through the heart of the city with half underground. It was imperative for the entire system to remain fully functional throughout construction. “All the Canada activity is my responsibility. It is my job to oversee all activities and managing the technical aspects of the job logistics and end product,” Tomory states. While challenges are always expected,


WJ Groundwater Canada | 6 several were especially challenging and required timely remediation on the way to project completion. SCIENCE CENTRE STATION: Hydrogeological mapping of the Science Centre Station – at 800 metres in length, the longest excavation in the project – determined there should be no groundwater. However, Crosslinx workers encountered approximately one metre of resting water above a clay layer that required drainage, which WJGC crews accomplished by drilling inclined well points on the north and south sides of the excavation.

OAKWOOD MAIN ENTRANCE: With a silt-laced zone sitting atop a

CALEDONIA STATION: The CTS dewatering system was not equipped to handle removal of perched water on clay layers. WJ Canada installed a dewatering system designed to dewater all of the perched layers and diverted the water toward the base of the excavation, enabling CTS to complete excavation and begin the station construction.

Daily Ops As is the case across every facet of the industry, hiring and maintaining a skilled work force is a challenge. “It is tough finding enough talent and labor. The industry is very competitive at the moment,” Tomory says.

“All the Canada activity is my responsibility. It is my job to oversee all activities and managing the technical aspects of the job logistics and end product.” - Tony Tomory, Country Director

lower clay layer, this was identified as the most challenging portion of the project. WJGC utilized a number of techniques to dewater that portion of the tunnel and kept the CTS mining schedule on track. Oakwood was constructed using the New Austrian Tunneling Method, also known as the sequential excavation method that utilizes a sprayed concrete lining and takes advantage of the geological strength in the rock mass to stabilize the tunnel. Dewatering is critical to the excavation sequence


Given the nature of its business, safety considerations are top of mind every day. “We have weekly safety meetings and we also do internal safety meetings so all of our project managers are on the same page and will be very efficient and effective on every project,” says Tomory. The company belongs to the Ontario Groundwater Association and the Tunnelling Association of Canada. Safe operation is a primary goal of

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WJ Groundwater Canada | 8 each association. The number one priority listed under Mission and Goals on the TAC web site is “to promote and advance Canadian tunneling and underground excavation technologies, and safe design, construction and maintenance.” “Belonging to OGWA gives us solidarity with other folks working in the industry and the challenges we all face,” says Tomory. “They provide shared experiences networking in the industry. The Tunnelling Association helps keep an eye out on future projects and we are able to talk on issues and work together. They have provided us a platform to talk and to get our name out there.” While the company executes the vast majority of its work, it closely scrutinizes sub-contractors when they are needed. “We evaluate all of our subs, talk with them and look at the quality of their work,” Tomory says. “One of our challenges is that we have a different way of doing business.” To that end, the company works hard to recruit skilled and qualified workers familiar with Canadian culture and the dewatering industry. When asked about the company’s recruiting methods, Tomory says: “We show them the Crosslinx project, it’s a great seminal project for the city of Toronto that everyone would be eager to work on.”


Tomory says the company has worked closely with Smartrek Technologies, a specialist in LPWAN wireless communication. ‘’We are using their sensors in order to monitor ground water levels and the key operational parameters of our dewatering systems. This is a crucial aspect for a project of this scale. The system is not only easy to set up but is also scalable and extremely cost efficient. The groundwater has to be lowered to provide a dry excavation and to prevent any water infiltration into the excavation, which could result in ground instability and potentially collapse,” he explains. “The sensors they have provided for this project are all Plug n’ Play and consist of Pressure, Temperature, Water level and Flow monitoring devices. The data is monitored and tracked using the Smartrek Plug n’ Play Monitoring System which uses their SpiderMesh network technology. With Smartrek, we use real-time monitoring, data collection and alarms to assure our clients that we have an effective and reliable dewatering system. The whole process has been seamless and easy.’’

Looking Forward As a new concern with top-notch workers that is recognized for its expertise and innovative solutions

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“We are working to get our name out there. The way we view it is that business development happens by building a good relationship with your customers and getting the project finished.” - Tony Tomory, Country Director

and is backed by a parent company with massive resources, WJ Groundwater-Canada seems positioned for a long and successful future. As the Crosslinx projects wraps up, the company is poised for its next phase. “We are working to get our name out there,” Tomory says. “The way we view it is that business development happens by building a good relationship with your customers and getting the project finished. At the end of the day, when all the Crosslinx staff go onto the next job, they will remember we delivered what we said we would and they will bring us back.”


Company Name: WJ Groundwater-Canada Country: Canada Industry: Construction Est: 2016 Premiere Services: Groundwater control and management service Country Director: Tony Tomory Website: www.wjcanada.com


250 Eglinton Avenue West Suite 253 Toronto, Ontario M4R 1A7 P: 1(416) 792 3999 P: 1(416) 278 7438 E: info@wjgl.com

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