From the aqueduct to waterworks: the history of Moscow through the supply facilities

April 3
City administration

The reconstruction of the Lyubertsy wastewater treatment plant, which receives half of the city's wastewater, continues in Moscow. An ultraviolet disinfection unit is planned to be built here — this will completely clean the waste water that the station discharges into river (in addition, this technology has good energy efficiency indicators). The Lyubertsy wastewater treatment plant was put into operation in 1963 and has been modernized several times since then.

The city actively implements advanced technologies and regularly renovates public utilities. Therefore, many of the facilities that were built several decades ago are successfully operated today. Others that have served their time become historical landmarks.

Rostokino Aqueduct

The main landmark of the Rostokino district is the stone aqueduct, the one of the five aqueducts of the Mytishchi water pipeline that has survived to this day. This is the oldest engineering structure in Moscow, built in the early 19th century. Water was supplied to the city from Mytishchi springs without any mechanical water lift, due to the elevation differences and a number of engineering solutions.

“Seeing the Rostokino aqueduct, Catherine II, by whose order the water supply was built, said: “It looks as light as a feather... but is very strong”. The aqueduct consisted of 21 spans; the water flowed through a brick gallery lined with lead plates (the danger of the metal was not known that time). The aqueduct is 356 meters long and about 19 meters high. It is called the Million Bridge since about one and a half million rubles were spent on the construction of the water pipeline and aqueduct, which was a huge amount of money at that time”, says Oksana Bozhneva, head of the Water Museum of Mosvodokanal JSC.

The aqueduct became the largest stone facility in Russia of its time and, according to Catherine II, the most beautiful one in Moscow.

In the middle of the 19th century, a cast-iron pipe was installed in the gutter, and water was supplied by pumps, which almost doubled the supply capacity. In early 20th century, two cast-iron pipes were installed in the aqueduct, through which water was supplied to Moscow until 1962. The structure was later used as a heating main. Only in 2008, after reconstruction and restoration, the Rostokino aqueduct became a pedestrian bridge and was recognized as a cultural heritage site of federal significance.

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Vitali Fountain

The Petrovsky fountain, which is one of the oldest fountains in the capital, is located cross the street from the Bolshoi Theater, on Theater Square. It is also called the Vitali Fountain, after the sculptor Giovanni Vitali, who created it in 1835.

The water-supply fountain appeared in 1826-1835, when the Mytishchi water supply line was reconstructed. Muscovites used it for drinking water: the fountain supplied about 17 thousand buckets daily. People also came here to water their horses. Water carriers delivered water from the fountain to the homes of citizens.

The fountain served as a source of drinking water for Muscovites until early 20th century. It then remained as a decoration of the square, with a public garden laid out around it. There are arched niches on the three sides of the fountain pedestal; an entrance to the technical room is located in one of them. Semicircular metal containers are installed in the western and eastern parts of the fountain. The water comes from the main bowl of the fountain. There are two symmetrical stone stairs in the northern part of the pedestal leading to the upper bypass platform with a metal fence decorated with a geometric pattern.

Today, this federal monument is in poor condition, since the last time it was restored in 1995. Cast-iron elements are damaged by corrosion, and streaks of copper salts formed on the bronze ones. The Department of Cultural Heritage of Moscow has included the Vitali Fountain in the plan for the preservation of cultural heritage sites. A restoration project is planned for 2022.

State Electric Power Station No. 1 (Raush Power Plant)

Russia's oldest operating power plant is just 600 meters from the Kremlin. This is the first station in Moscow that generates alternating current. It was opened on November 28, 1897. The plant was built by the Society of Electric Lighting in 1886 on the Raushskaya Embankment by a decree of Emperor Alexander III. Today SPP-1 provides electricity and heat to the center of Moscow.

All the property of the joint-stock company, including the Rausch power plant, was nationalized in December 1917. Subsequently, it received a new name-State Power Plant No. 1 (SPP-1).

Before the implementation of the large-scale state plan for the electrification of Soviet Russia (GOELRO), the SPP-1 remained the largest in Russia.

In 1931, the first heating mains in the capital were laid from the SPP-1-through the Ustinsky and Moskvoretsky Bridges to Sverdlov Square and Neglinka. This was the beginning of the heating system in Moscow. Today, the heat supply system of the capital is the largest in the world.

In 1946, the SPP-1 switched to operation on natural gas and became the first station in the domestic energy industry to use it. Today, all power plants in Moscow run on gas — the most environmentally friendly form of organic fuel.

Since its launch, the SPP-1 has been upgraded many times, with modern equipment installed and the capacity increased. Today, its electric capacity is 76 megawatts, and its thermal capacity is almost 700 gigacalories per hour.

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Main pumping station

The main pumping station was put into operation in the summer of 1898. It was created together with the sewage system. The station provided the pumping of municipal wastewater to the upstream reaches of the Suburban Canal at the Spasskaya (Krestyanskaya) zastava (outpost), from where it flowed by gravity to the Lublin irrigation fields. The station was expanded in 1911.

“A new room was built, where mechanical rakes and crushers for crushing waste were installed. After crushing, they re-entered the waste water and did not need to be removed. This was a world-class technical novelty, since the crusher was installed long before the appearance of similar equipment at sewage stations in the United States”, says Oksana Bozhneva, head of the Water Museum of Mosvodokanal JSC.


The station went through several more renovations and operated until 1980. The building, which is an example of industrial architecture, is preserved on the territory of the Water Museum. Now it is one of the divisions of Mosvodokanal JSC.

SPP-2 (tram power plant)

The electric tram became popular in Moscow in early 20th century. A tram power plant designed for its reliable operation started working in 1907. It was for the first time in Russia that three steam turbines were installed at a power plant.

The SPP-2 repeatedly changed its appearance: the plant was expanded, and the clock tower was removed so as not to spoil the background of the Udarnik cinema. With the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the 62-meter boiler room pipes were dismantled, as they could became a reference point during Nazi air raids.

In 2006, due to the general wear and tear and the high cost of electricity produced, the SPP-2 was decided to be decommissioned. Its electrical load was redistributed to the Bersenevskaya substation, and its thermal load - to the CHPP-20. The building of the SPP-2 received the status of a cultural heritage site of regional significance in 2009. In 2014, the property complex was sold to an investor to create a Cultural center.

Already this year, the V-A-C Foundation will open a cultural cluster, as the restoration has already reached the completion stage. All kinds of art will dwell under a single roof in the modern House of Culture. There will be museums, workshops, a library, a concert hall with 450 seats, classrooms for training and a multifunctional center. A birch grove has already grown around the SPP-2 building, and later a pedestrian zone will appear.

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Waterworks facility on the Yauza (Syromyatnichesky waterworks facility)

The Yauza waterworks facility was built in 1940. The construction took only three years. Since then, it has been operating continuously three kilometers from the mouth of the river, between Zolotorozhskaya Embankment and Akademik Tupolev Embankment.

The construction was carried out according to the plan for creating the Moscow water ring. The design provided for the construction of the Northern Canal (the Khimki reservoir to the Yauza) and several waterworks, including one on the Yauza.

In the early 1930s, it was decided to provide the capital with two water rings from the Volga water in order to increase the fresh water reserves for the citizens, clean the bed of the Moscow River and continue to develop navigation and river transport. The plan was not implemented because of the Great Patriotic War.


Today, a 20-meter spillway dam allows regulating the water level in the Yauza. The depth of the river is at least two meters due to it; thus, the Yauza remains navigable. The waterworks facility passes water supply, floods and storm water, so the territory above it is safe from flooding.


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