First Norilsk water supply system was wooden
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First Norilsk water supply system was wooden

June 11, 2021

The first source of water in Norilsk for domestic and, most importantly, for technological needs was lake Dolgoe.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The commissioning of the Norilsk concentration plant in 1948 the water consumption increased, and the flow rate again exceeded the inflow: Dolgoye lake grew shallow. Another, renewable source was needed. It was the Norilskaya river.

But first, a nine-kilometer pipeline from the river to the city had to be laid. At the same time, the calculations showed: if by January 1950, a water conduit with a diameter of 130 centimeters was not started up, there would be no water in Dolgoye at all, and the processing plant would have to be stopped. The deadlines were tight – by December 1949 a water conduit had to be built there.

The installation and commissioning of the pipeline took only five months. There was one more problem – no enough metal for the pipes. At the same time, a copper plant was being built in the city, and all the resources went there.

The combine’s head Vladimir Zverev and his engineers thought about it and made a decision: partly the water conduit would be made of wood. The designers calculated that more than four kilometers of the pipes could be made that way. The wooden water conduit had to be soaked like barrels and started up only at high temperatures.

“The work was carried out around the clock, the weekends were canceled. It was a great risk to fail to finish it before the weather got cold, but they did it on time – until December 1949. However, you cannot argue with physics: the wooden section, which could not be soaked in 50-degree frosts, gave a large leak. And there was no water left in Dolgoye, the pumps were gasping for air”, recalled the head of the construction site Vladimir Vsesvyatsky.

The engineers again applied the Norilsk ingenuity: having dropped water several times, they insulated the wooden section from the inside with ice and finally let the water go to production and to the city. The wooden pipe served for almost 20 years. The last wooden section was replaced with a metal one in 1968.

For other issues of our photo project about the history of the city and the combine, go to the History spot section.

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Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive

June 11, 2021

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