Media Release

Underground Concrete Electrical Vault in Wisconsin Relies on Penetron for Permanent Waterproofing Protection


The relocation and construction of a subterranean electrical vault for the Dane County Courthouse and Jail in Madison, Wisconsin was completed in July 2021. PENETRON ADMIX SB was specified to ensure the impermeability of the new – and waterproof – underground structure for the vault’s high voltage lines.

A new underground concrete electrical vault was built as part of the renovation and upgrade of the Dane County Courthouse, a 225,000 ft2 mixed-use municipal facility which houses the District Attorney’s Office and the Dane County Circuit Courts, as well as a jail. The vault is part of the electrical network that serves both the County Courthouse and the jail, housed in the same building on South Hamilton Street in the central district of Madison, Wisconsin.

Housing large electrical panels or junction points, along with high-voltage electrical cables and related infrastructure, electrical vaults are built to provide a robust and secure structure. Designed for constricted areas or to improve the aesthetics of public spaces, subterranean vaults provide flexibility for a community’s evolving infrastructure.

Protecting High Voltage Line from Moisture

Designed by Potter Lawson Architects and built by JH Findorf & Son, the Dane County Courthouse vault serves as the central access point for the municipal facility’s power network. The structural design specified a concrete structure with thick walls and a foundation slab to protect the high voltage lines and junction points from the environment – and moisture.

“Thanks to the easy dosing of the soluble bag format and attractive pricing, PENETRON ADMIX SB was used in the concrete mix for the foundation slab and walls of the electrical vault,” explains Nick Noll, Sales & Marketing Manager at Wingra Redi-Mix. “We also benefitted from the project support provided by the local Penetron technician.”

Creating an Impermeable Concrete Matrix

PENETRON ADMIX SB is a permanent concrete waterproofing solution. Once added to the concrete mix, the admixture’s active ingredients react in a catalytic reaction to the moisture in concrete. This reaction generates a non-soluble crystalline formation throughout the pores and capillary tracts of the concrete. The entire concrete matrix is now impermeable, stopping the penetration of groundwater and liquids from any direction.

“PENETRON ADMIX also provides concrete with the capacity to self-heal micro-cracks for the lifetime of the structure,” adds Christopher Chen, Director of The Penetron Group. “This will effectively minimize any future waterproofing related maintenance costs for the electrical vault under the Dane County Courthouse.”