Central Highlands Water (CHW) has completed Stage 1 of the $25 million Ballarat Sewer Build, which began in April 2021 and has since unearthed various historical artefacts. 

When all stages are complete, the Ballarat Sewer Build will duplicate the existing sewer line from Ballarat East to Ballarat South, servicing the Ballarat community for another 100 years. 

CHW Managing Director, Paul O’Donohue, highlighted that Stage 1 of the project has seen the installation of 960m of sewer pipe 4-6m beneath the CBD, along Peel Street, Eastwood Street and Anderson Streets East and West. 

“Construction has included more than 13,000t of crushed rock compacted, two micro-tunnels bored beneath critical traffic intersections, 220m3 of concrete poured and three large sewer connections made into the existing network,” Mr O’Donohue said. 

A total of 22,000 working hours have been undertaken to complete Stage 1. 

“We’re also looking forward to reinstating the temporarily sealed roads in Eastwood and Peel Street, which we will be working with the City of Ballarat to action in early 2022,” Mr O’Donohue said. 

CHW Project Manager, Mick Dwyer, said the completion of Stage 1 was an incredible example of the Ballarat community’s resilience and future-focus. 

“The support of our local community has enabled us to meet every challenge throughout this intricate major infrastructure project. We sincerely thank the many businesses, residents and stakeholders for their collaboration and patience throughout stage 1 construction,” Mr Dwyer said. 

“The community spirit shown during construction, particularly during challenging COVID-19 times and severe weather events, has been greatly appreciated. 

“The understanding shown by both our business community, and residents, have made a highly complex project achievable.”

The next stage of the build, Stage 2: White Flat Oval to Prest Street, is set to commence in 2022. 

Ballarat Sewer Build excavation works also unearthed significant remnants of Ballarat’s colourful history, with an unexpected historical discovery of the Bakery Hill Sawn timber water supply pipe, located 1m beneath the road surface at the junction of Peel Street and Eastwood Street. 

The historical artefact, which is now registered on the Victorian Heritage Inventory, consists of an enclosed square sawn timber box water supply pipe, measuring approximately 0.5m x 0.5m. 

The pipe likely formed part of the drainage infrastructure from the nearby Yarrowee Creek in the 1850s. 

While no specific documentation relating to the timber structure has been located, mid-nineteenth century maps of Ballarat indicate it is situated near washpools and workings associated with gold mining in the area. 

Other significant discoveries during construction included a large tree stump located approximately 3m beneath the road surface at Little Bridge Street, with its root structure still in place, and an old redundant water main from the 1850s that was part of Ballarat’s original water supply. 

Preserving historical infrastructure was also strongly considered throughout the project. 

As the project’s new 900mm diameter sewer main crossed the Yarrowee River, qualified stonemasons were engaged to individually number, remove and then reinstate the stones which form Ballarat’s iconic bluestone-lined section. 

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