Our History

A heritage of excellence


WJ Groundwater Ltd Opens For Business

WJ was founded in 1981 by Professor Jim White and Professor Stephan Jefferis. The first signficant investment was the company logo which was by graphic designer Bob Williamson.  


Hillfield Office Opened

WJ opened our first permanent office on a property adjacent to the historic Hilfield Castle on the outskirts of London. Whilst at this point WJ only employed six staff it was a major step forward to becoming the global brand we are today.


Completion of the Conwy Project, North Wales

WJ secure the dewatering contract for the Conwy Crossing in North Wales. This was one of the biggest and most technically challenging dewatering projects undertaken in the UK up to that time. The £190m 0.7 mile long tunnel under the River Conwy.


Medway Tunnel

The Medway Tunnel was one of WJ’s largest projects in the early years of the company, and one of our first large scale chalk dewatering projects. A series of deepwells were installed to enable the construction of a number of casting basins and portals as part of the construction of the UK’s second ever immersed tube tunnel – the first being the Conwy crossing in Wales than WJ worked upon a number of years earlier.


Jubilee Line Extension

The Jubilee Line Extension was significant on a number of levels. Not only was it one of WJ’s first projects with London Underground, but it was also one of the first instances in the UK of in-tunnel inclined wellpoint dewatering – a service WJ have used successfully at many sites since this project!


Cardiff Bay Barrage

The £120m Cardiff Bay Barrage was one of the largest civil engineering projects in Europe during the 1990s, and was one of the largest projects WJ had been engaged on since our formation. The project itself was somewhat different from those WJ had traditionally undertaken as it involved the development and testing of horizontal wells, installed by another contractor, however this showed the technical flexibility that WJ are reknowned for.


DLR Extension

WJ have a long record of working on the London Underground network, and the Docklands Light Railway extension from Greenwich to Lewisham was one of the first projects we provided our dewatering expertise too. In order to extend the line from The City of London on the northern banks of the Thames to Greenwich on the south banks a tunnel was constructed and WJ installed a combination of deepwells (installed from a barge in the river, with pumps installed by divers!), in tunnel wells points and sump pumping to enable the construction works.


Canary Wharf

From the early 19th century until the middle of the 20th century, the Canary Wharf area’s iconic docks were some of the busiest in the world. Following their decline, the area has undergone substantial regeneration to become one of the main financial centres of the UK. During its constant regeneration WJ have provided a range of groundwater management solutions to dozens of projects across the whole estate. The first of these was in the early 1990s, and to this day is one of our most active parts of the country for dewatering projects.


Channel tunnel Rail Link – Thames Tunnel

The Channel Tunnel Rail Link is a 108km high-speed railway connection between London and the Channel Tunnel in Kent. WJ provided dewatering for a number of sections of the line, however the most challenging were the Northern and Southern cut-and-cover tunnels in West Thurrock and Swanscombe, which were at the time the largest dewatering contracts ever awarded in the UK, at approximately £3m!


Dubai Airport Terminal 3

The construction of Dubai’s International Airport Terminal 3, was at the time, the largest excavation WJ had ever dewatered, covering over 420,000m²! The innovative ‘underground’ nature of the terminal buildings, with the airplanes overhead, meant dewatering would be required on a scale WJ had not undertaken before, especially not in the new unfamiliar climes of the Middle East, but as ever we rose to the occasion!


Dubai Office Opened

After announcing our presence in the Middle East in style with the headlining grabbing Dubai International Airport project, our first Middle Eastern office was opened in Dubai, in order to lead our, initially Middle Eastern operations, and now with the subsequent opening of offices elsewhere throughout the region, our Emirati operations.


Qatar Office Opened

After the success of our Dubai office, and in order to best meet the needs of our clients and projects across the Middle East, our Qatar office was opened in 2009.


London Olympic Aquatic Centre

The Aquatics Centre, described by the IOC president as ‘a masterpiece’ was one of the centre-piece new developments in Stratford built for the London 2012 Olympics. Being engaged to work on such an iconic and time-sensitive project demonstrated the trust and confidence in WJ to deliver the works on time and to budget.


Crossrail, London

The Crossrail project was the construction of the new 118km long Elizabeth Line through Central London to compliment the existing London Underground network. WJ were engaged to undertake surface, shaft and in-tunnel dewatering for the construction of the new stations, running tunnels, cross passages and access shafts.


Lusail Expressway, Qatar

The Lusail Expressway in Qatar was one of the largest amongst over 30 road projects that made up the emirates seven-year Expressway Programme. The 5.3km long, four-lane each-way highway, including a number of major interchanges is one of the largest individual projects WJ have worked upon across our global operations, and established our name as our of the leading groundwater management companies in the Middle East.


Polish Office Opened

WJ were long established in the UK, and the Middle East when we expanded in to Europe in 2012 with the opening of our Polish office in the country’s third largest city, Lodz. The office was opened to help manage the Lodz High Speed Railway Interchange project, and since then has successfully managed nearly 100 projects in the country.


Lodz Station, Poland

The redevelopment of the industrial city of Lodz, and the construction of a new transport hub within Poland, providing connections to Europe, provided excellent opportunities for dewatering due to the scale of the proposed projects. WJ, with our newly opened Polish office in the city which enabled us to use our considerable resources and technical know-how to deliver on a project that included dewatering, discharge management, and overpumping, and that at its peak was pumping over 500 litres of water per second, and operating over 100 wells.


Kings Langley Office Opened

After being based out of Bournehall House, Bushey on the outskirts of London for a number of years, WJ purchased new offices in nearby Kings Langley to become our new Head Office and base of our UK operations.


Scottish Office Opened

WJ had worked in Scotland for many years, on a wide range of projects, including our award winning works on the historic Govan Station project, however it was only in 2016 that we opened a formal base of operations in Blantyre near Glasgow to better manage our projects in Scotland and Northern England.


Thames Tideway

The Thames Tideway project is the construction of a new 25km long ‘super sewer’ through central London, to reduce the pressure on the existing Victorian sewer network. Due to our expertise, WJ were engaged to undertake pumping tests and dewatering works on a number of sites across the proposed scheme including works at iconic locations such as Blackfriars, adjacent to Battersea Power Station and along the Victoria and Albert Embankments.


Canadian Office Opened

Despite having been long established in the UK, the Middle East and Poland for a number of years, WJ had not yet ventured in to the North American market. This changed with the opening of our new Canadian office in Toronto, the capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. The office was opened to help manage the Eglinton LRT Metro project running through the city and combined local knowledge with the dewatering expertise from our other regional offices.


Eglinton LRT Metro, Toronto

The Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit (LRT) project consists of a 19.7km light rail system running through the heart of Toronto from Mount Dennis in the West to Kennedy in the East, and was the first major project won by WJ in North America. Using the considerable expertise WJ had gained from working on Crossrail and various other TfL projects in the UK, we were engaged to provide dewatering for a number of station, cross passage and running tunnel excavations across the proposed network.


Turkish Office Opened

WJ had been an established part of the dewatering industry in Europe and in the Middle East; in 2016, the opening of our Turkish operations closed the geographic gap between the two. This strategic move allowed us to take over the management of the Galata Port project via our local operation, providing regional expertise supported by cultural relevance to the Turkish market.


Galata Port, Istanbul

Istanbul, at the mouth of the Bosphorus, has long acted as a gateway between Europe and Asia. The Galata Port was first constructed in the late 19th Century to first service trade in to the Black Sea, and then subsequently for tourism. WJ were engaged to provide dewatering and groundwater management for a number of the initial redevelopment phases, which will eventually provide improved tourist facilities, a new waterside promenade and the regeneration of existing historical buildings.


Bilsthorpe Office & Yard Opened

After being based at our rented Clipstone Yard in Nottinghamshire for many years, the purchase a new larger unit in nearby Bilsthorpe was a major step forward for WJ in the UK. The new yard gave increased stability for our UK operations, and allowed the site to be specially fitted out to maximise the maintenance, testing and storage of our fleet of drilling, dewatering and testing plant and equipment.


Kuwait Expansion

WJ’s presence in the Middle East was further enhanced with the opening of new offices in Kuwait, complementing our existing operations in Qatar and Dubai. The office was initially opened to help manage the Al Zour LNG Terminal project, but will be our base of operations in the country for years to come.


Botanica Jelitkowo, Gdansk, Poland

Gdansk, centre of one of Poland’s largest metropolitan areas, and its premier seaport, was the location of one of WJ’s larger residential development projects in Poland, where WJ were engaged to install a  dewatering system to aid the construction of new basements for a new housing development.


Al Zour LNG Terminal, Kuwait

The Al Zour LNG Terminal project was WJ’s first foray in to Kuwait. A logistically and technically challenging project because of the size of the excavations, and the restrictive working hours was successfully completed and demonstrated WJ as being one of the most reliable and adaptable dewatering contractors in the Middle East.


Deblin Underpass, Poland

Deblin, approximately half-way between the cities of Warsaw and Lublin, in eastern Poland gave WJ the opportunity to further enhance our reputation as one the ‘go-to’ contractors for infrastructure projects in the country when we were engaged to install a  dewatering system to aid the construction of a new railway underpass.

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