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A new wetland to naturally filter and better control wet weather flows from the wastewater network has been planned for Urban Utilities’ South East Queensland, Cannery Creek, with an investment of $65 million. 

The construction of the Cannery Creek Sewer Upgrade is an innovative project that draws on nature to help manage the impacts of extreme weather on the wastewater network. The new nature-based filter will help protect nearby properties and deliver liveability and environmental benefits.

The project will combine green and traditional infrastructure and includes building a wet weather pump station and two kilometre pipeline which will divert flows to a new wetland, away from private properties.

The project is unique as the concept was shaped over three years by local residents as part of a Community Planning Team (CPT), which developed an integrated approach to achieve community, environmental and operational outcomes through a nature-based solution.

Urban Utilities Executive Leader Integrated Solutions, Chris Bulloch, said nature-based solutions such as the Cannery Creek Sewer Upgrade were an ideal way to manage the intense rainfall that can occur in subtropical Brisbane.

“Northgate and Banyo are low-lying areas of Brisbane, which means the local wastewater network can become inundated with stormwater during extreme weather, causing wet weather overflows which can sometimes impact private properties,” Mr Bulloch said. 

“While this part of our network has capacity to cater for growth, the impact of climate change means we’re likely to experience more frequent and intense rainfall, so we need to think innovatively about how we deal with water management.”

“During wet weather, the diluted wastewater will be screened and then diverted along the

underground pipeline to a new wetland and bioretention basins, which will act like nature’s filter, trapping sediment and absorbing nutrients,” Mr Bulloch said.

“Nearby, Cannery Creek is fed by stormwater and we’ll rehabilitate it by creating a series of sediment basins to manage and filter flows, to protect downstream waterways and Moreton Bay from the impacts of soil and sediment.

“Urban Utilities is committed to working with our customers and communities to help create solutions that not only manage water sustainably, but add value to our city and its communities.

Mr Bulloch said by working with the local residents, the team came up with an approach that is better for the community and environment, and is more cost effective than traditional engineering solutions.

“The design integrates a number of community aspirations including beautifying the creek banks and surrounding area and providing shared paths and seating, to help transform Cannery Creek and provide an area for the community to enjoy.”

Mr Bulloch thanked the community for their input and effort into designing the project plan. The CPT was formed in 2019, and allowed residents to collaborate with planners and engineers as they considered a number of options over many workshops and site visits. 

“The community-led design process played a key role in the final concept for the project and we’ll continue to keep the CPT updated as the project progresses,” Mr Bulloch said. 

Mr Bulloch thanked Brisbane City Council, the Queensland Government and the many other agencies and organisations which have been engaged and contributed to the project thus far. 

An Urban Utilities project team is working alongside delivery partner Fulton Hogan Utilities on the nature-based solution at Cannery Creek, with construction expected to be completed in 2024.

More information about the project can be found online here.

Featured image courtesy of Urban Utilities. Pictured L-R Fulton Hogan Utilities’ Aaron Lutton and Urban Utilities’ Paul Phillips at the breaking ground

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