Wachusett Aqueduct

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Wachusett Aqueduct
Wachusett Aqueduct
Wachusett Aqueduct at Northborough spanning over the Assabet River
Official name Wachusett Aqueduct
Begins Wachusett Reservoir
Ends Marlborough, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°23′57″N 71°41′22″W / 42.39917°N 71.68944°W / 42.39917; -71.68944Coordinates: 42°23′57″N 71°41′22″W / 42.39917°N 71.68944°W / 42.39917; -71.68944
Maintained by MWRA
Length 9 mi (14.5 km)
Conduit height 11 ft (3.4 m)
Conduit width 12 ft (3.7 m)
Capacity 400 cu ft/s (11.33 m3/s)
Construction began 1897
Opening date 1905
Wachusett Aqueduct Linear District
Built 1896
Architect Frederick P. Stearns
MPS Water Supply System of Metropolitan Boston MPS
NRHP reference # 89002276[1]
Added to NRHP January 18, 1990

The Wachusett Aqueduct is a secondary aqueduct that carries water from the Wachusett Reservoir to the John J. Carroll Water Treatment Plant at Walnut Hill in Marlborough, Massachusetts. It is part of the public water supply system for the communities of Greater Boston that are served by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), which manages the aqueduct. The aqueduct serves as a standby backup to the Cosgrove Tunnel.

Physical characteristics[edit]

The Wachusett Aqueduct extends from the Wachusett Reservoir in Clinton, through Berlin and Northborough, to the John J. Carroll Water Treatment Plant at Walnut Hill in Marlborough, Massachusetts. This 9-mile (14 km) long water system consists of 2 miles (3 km) of hard rock tunnel and 7 miles (11 km) of 11-foot (3.4 m) high horseshoe-shaped underground aqueduct constructed of non-reinforced concrete with a brick-lined invert. It is not constructed entirely underground and there are several elevated sections. The final portion of the aqueduct, taken out of service in 2005 with the opening of the treatment plant, is an open channel running from near the treatment facility to Sudbury Reservoir.

Modern use[edit]

Until the 1960s, the Wachusett Aqueduct was the main conduit used to deliver water from the Wachusett Reservoir. At that time, it carried 300 million US gallons (1,100,000 m3) of water each day (13 m3/s). The Cosgrove Tunnel replaced it in 1965 as the primary water transmission aqueduct. Because of the construction of the Walnut Hill Water Treatment Plant in Marlborough, the Cosgrove Tunnel was shut down in 2003 in order to make the large piping connection between the new treatment plant and the MWRA's new MetroWest Water Supply Tunnel. The MetroWest Tunnel extends east 18.6 miles (29.9 km) from Walnut Hill to Weston. During that shutdown, the Wachusett Aqueduct was the primary method of transmission[2][3] of about 240 million US gallons (910,000 m3) of water per day.[citation needed] The section of the Wachusett Aqueduct between the Wachusett Reservoir and the treatment plant remains a standby backup transmission path in the event the Cosgrove Tunnel is unavailable, while the open channel between the treatment plant and the Sudbury Reservoir remains an emergency backup transmission path in the event of a major problem with the treatment plant or the primary transmission pathways between the treatment plant and the water system.

The aqueduct's route and supporting structures were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

It is a Pokémon gym in the mobile game, Pokémon Go.


  1. ^ National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ Town, Ray. "Restoring the Century-Old Wachusett Aqueduct" (PDF). American Shotcrete Association. p. 1. Retrieved November 25, 2012. 
  3. ^ Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation-Office of Watershed Management (2006). "Public Access Management Plan Update: Quabbin Reservoir Watershed System" (PDF). p. 11. Retrieved November 25, 2012.