Meet Doug the rock reamer. He’s German, 2.2 metres long, weighs 2.8 tonnes and looks like he belongs with The Transformers.

As the first of his kind in Australia, he is going to chew his way through extremely hard rock underneath Nicklin Way to help construct a new 2.5km sewerage pipeline to service the southern end of the Sunshine Coast.

He has six sets of teeth made of tungsten carbide, which is twice as hard as steel. So he’s rough, he’s tough and in August he began to power his way through the earth to a depth of 35m.

The project is one of two new major sewerage pipelines Pipeline Drillers is constructing on behalf of Unitywater.

The other pipeline will be 3.2km from Mountain Creek under Kawana Way to the Kawana Sewage Treatment Plant.

Sunshine Coast Council Deputy Mayor Tim Dwyer and Division 3 Councillor Peter Cox took a tour of the Caloundra site in August and got up close and personal with Doug before he went underground.

Deputy Mayor Dwyer said it was great to have such an innovative project on the Sunshine Coast.

“It will improve the sewerage pipeline for the southern part of the region and the investment by Unitywater is absolutely fantastic,” Deputy Mayor Dwyer said.

“Not only will this improve our infrastructure, but the innovative nature of the project means there’ll be minimal impact on the community.”

Unitywater Executive Manager Infrastructure Planning and Capital Delivery, Simon Taylor, said the new pipelines will cater for the growing area.

“With new developments happening and future population growth, we need to ensure we have the right infrastructure in place,” he said.

“This project is one of the largest drilling projects by a water utility in Australia, and horizontal directional drilling is a fantastic way of doing this work compared to excavation as it minimises impacts on the community and environment.”

The two pipelines are expected to be completed in January 2018.

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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