Zorn Water Treatment Station
Location: Louisville, KY
Engineer: Cornerstone Engineering
Architect: K. Norman Berry Associates
Awards: ABC Award of Excellence, AGC Build Kentucky Historic Preservation Award
The Zorn tunnel that connects Zorn Pump Station #1 and Zorn Pump Station #2 was in need of concrete repairs after being underground for more than 100 years. The utility tunnel was experiencing severe concrete deterioration.
SSRG excavated down to the tunnel, exposed the exterior, repaired damaged areas, and a new reinforced concrete tunnel was installed around the existing tunnel. During the restoration work, it was required that surrounding utilities and interior tunnel utilities remain active, which included five 100-year old high pressure cast iron water lines that are located inches below the tunnel floor. Vacuum excavation was used to locate the exact location and elevations of each cast iron water line prior to work in order to prevent any damage. New footings started and stopped at the water lines to prevent any load transfer to the brittle lines causing them to fail. After the tunnel was encapsulated, waterproofing was applied and the site was restored to its existing condition.
No longer a functioning water pumping facility, the water station and its 169 FT tower predate the Civil War and were named National Historic Landmarks in 1971. The pump station, or engine room, was built to resemble a Greek temple. The project involved removing multiple layers of exterior paint and restoring and cleaning the building’s original elements – including masonry façade, wood soffits constructed of old-growth hardwood, locally quarried stone and original terra cotta decorations. The work included cleaning, repairing, recasting and /or rebuilding 480 modillions (the hand-crafted, terra cotta elements under the cornice) and the 48 terra cotta capitals that crown the structure’s Corinthian columns and pilasters. The project also involved tuck pointing brick, masonry repairs, cast iron repairs and re-coating the building with white paint, in keeping with its Classical Revival style and Greek temple resemblance. The roof, 65 feet tall at its peak, has been replaced with new slate shingles and lead-coated copper flashing.