Caribou Falls Upgrade

Corbec Group - Montreal

The massive Hudson's Bay watershed encompasses nearly half the land mass of Canada and is home to the largest Hydroelectric potential on earth. The many already existing generating facilities here date back more than half a century and hot-dip galvanized steel is the time-proven corrosion solution of choice in every single case.

In Northern Ontario, the Mattagami River eventually drains into Hudson’s Bay and since the mid 1960’s has been a source of hydroelectric power for the Canadian province with four generating stations clustered around Caribou Falls. Much of the steel used in the nearly 60-year-old complex was originally hot-dip galvanized and has remained maintenance free throughout its life.

Due to this proven track record, it was an easy decision for Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to specify galvanizing once again for all the exposed steel in this first major upgrade to these facilities. New regulations relating to severe weather event hardening call for increased floodgate capacity at all water damming facilities. To satisfy these new standards the Caribou Falls facilities required new larger capacity sluice gates.

Being so far from population centers just adds to the importance of needing maintenance-free long service life solutions to steel corrosion. Also, the high capacity of the HDG steel provides ensured rapid reliable turnaround of the roughly two and a half million pounds of steel needed in the short northern construction season. Of further benefit the on-floor information systems of the galvanizer assure proper identification and delivery of every single identified piece of steel to each precise work site location for seamless assembly and erection across the massive and remote project complex.

The hard knocks nature of this sort of Far-North civil construction project is a natural for specifying hot-dip galvanized steel, with its harder than steel intermetallic layer preventing abrasion and the galvanic protection inherent in HDG being the fallback for those extreme cases where even tough zinc coatings are damaged in transit or installation. Additionally, unlike paint systems the all-natural and benign nature of the zinc coated steel presents no danger to the environment and has the further benefit of full (and economically viable) recyclability.

These new water control structures will provide many decades of a higher level of water safety for local populations before corrosion maintenance is even considered, an amazing feat from such a time-proven low-cost corrosion solution.

This project was powered by a CIC Pittsburgh Galvanizing furnace.