April 17, 2015
Niagara Falls Surge Tank
I think there are perhaps a few people who might have wondered what’s the purpose of the circular concrete building beside the Illumination Tower where the lights that light up the falls each evening is located. It was, at one time, the Surge Tank for the Ontario Power Generating Plant that was (and still is) found in the gorge below the tower. This plant operated in the gorge directly below the tower between 1906 and 1999.
Here’s how it worked. When this plant was operating, water was taken from the upper Niagara River thru buried conduit pipes and penstocks thru the rock to the plant located in the gorge. This water was used to produce electricity then returned to the river .If the water was delivered too quickly it was forced back up to this surge tank to reduce fluctuations in head and pressure during the increase and decrease of loads.
I’ve attached a photograph of the Illumination Tower and the Surge Tank taken this week with my Fish-Eye lens. Another photo is taken from atop the Skylon Tower. Look closely, the Surge Tank is in the centre at the bottom of the photo. You can see the tank is empty. The removal of this unused tank would provide more development in this area. It would provide more space for the Coca Cola Band Stand that is now located in front of the tank.
Just a thought.