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Fredericton Water Treatment Plant

101 Smythe Street, Fredericton, New Brunswick, E3B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2006/09/11

Front view showing various additions to original structure; City of Fredericton
Water Treatment Plant
Former Water Works building before transition was made to water treatment plant, photograph dates from between 1898 and 1906; Provincial Archives of NB - P32-128
Former Water Works
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1882/01/01 to 1883/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/07/09

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Fredericton Water Treatment Plant is situated on the lower end of Smythe Street in close proximity to the St. John River. The original brick structure, begun in 1882, has had six subsequent additions, the last of which was completed in 1993. With each expansion of this building, its purpose evolved from simple water pumping station to water treatment plant.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Water Treatment Plant as a Local Historic Place resides in its original and continued purpose of providing a healthy, plentiful, and safe water supply to the residents of Fredericton. The need for a water works, or water pumping station, had been discussed since the 1860’s. It had long been recognized that Fredericton needed an abundant supply of water for the health and safety of its residents, in particular to help protect against typhoid fever and fire. Agitation for a water pumping station continued over the next couple of decades, until construction finally began in 1882. Arthur Limerick, the local contractor awarded the contract, began construction of the building in October of that year.

The original building, a simple one-storey brick structure, housed the water pumping machinery and was completed in 1883. Each addition to the original structure over the next century represents an evolution in water service technology. Early additions increased both the size of the station and its water pumping capacity. However, it was the demand for purer water from the St. John River that resulted in great change. The 1906 addition supported the introduction of a filtration system. This addition, including the construction of the filtration tower, ushered in a new era and forged the transformation from water pumping station to water treatment plant. Included in this stage of water treatment was chlorination, and in 1912, Fredericton was among the first municipalities to chlorinate water. Subsequent additions represent advancements in water treatment, including that in 1984, which enabled the removal of manganese from the water supply. The Fredericton Water Treatment Plant is the largest manganese removal plant in North America.

The site of the Water Treatment Plant is significant because of its close proximity to the St. John River. The River had served as the water supply source from the station’s inception until the transition from surface to groundwater was made in the 1950’s.

In 1984 the American Water Works Association designated this site a Canadian Water Landmark.

Source: City of Fredericton Property Files, “Water Treatment Plant, 101 Smythe Street”

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements associated with the Water Treatment Plant include:
- its close proximity to the St. John River;
- its situation upon a large lot;
- manicured lawn;
- brick structure, with a variety of roof lines;
- large rectangular window openings;
- circular window openings on upper level of tower;
- its continued leading role in water treatment.



New Brunswick

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NB)

Recognition Statute

Local Historic Places Program

Recognition Type

Municipal Register of Local Historic Places

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1906/01/01 to 1906/01/01
1912/01/01 to 1912/01/01
1926/01/01 to 1926/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Technology and Engineering
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Developing Economies
Extraction and Production

Function - Category and Type



Water or Sewage Facility

Architect / Designer



Arthur Limerick

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Fredericton Historic Places File, "101 Smythe Street"

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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