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In January 2020, Coliban Water completed its $5 million Heathcote Sewer Scheme Project, enabling property owners to connect to the expanded sewer network. This project will help eliminate the use of on-site septic tanks, improving public health and protecting the environment.

Manager Infrastructure, Corey Bourne, said the project ensures more of the Heathcote community has access to a safer and environmentally-friendly way to manage their domestic wastewater.

“By expanding our sewer network, we ensure wastewater is safely contained and transported to our Heathcote Water Reclamation Plant, where it is treated and reused for irrigation,” Mr Bourne said.

“As well as creating a healthier and safer environment, the project also allows for future development and population growth for Heathcote.

“Healthy people and environment, and prosperous economies are two of the four strategic directions in Strategy 2030, our ten-year plan to achieve our vision of Water to Live, Grow and Enjoy.

“Around 150 properties are expected to connect, with further connections planned as vacant lots are developed.”

The Heathcote Sewer Scheme Project is part of a Backlog Sewer Program to provide reticulated sewerage services in urban areas where septic tanks were still in use.

“Local councils identified residential areas where properties had been built before sewerage services were available. The program included extensions of our network around Markovitch Lane, Junortoun, completed in 2014, and Reckleben Street, Castlemaine, completed in 2016,” Mr Bourne said.

“There has been a lot of development around Reckleben Street in the four years since we completed the expansion, which wouldn’t have been possible before the works.”

Works began on the Heathcote Sewer Scheme Project in September 2018, with the construction of 10km of sewer main and a sewer pump station.

“A lot of planning, investigations, design, assessments, approvals and community consultation goes into a project like this,” Mr Bourne said.

Around 30 per cent of the mains were installed using boring or horizontal directional drilling (HDD), a trenchless method that reduces the need for excavation and prevents damage to trees and root systems.

Boring/HDD is generally accomplished in three principal phases:

  • First, a small diameter pilot hole is drilled along a directional path from one surface point to another
  • Next, the bore created during pilot hole drilling is enlarged to a diameter that will facilitate installation of the desired pipeline
  • Lastly, the pipeline is pulled into the enlarged hole, thus creating a continuous segment of pipe underground exposed only at the two initial endpoints

Boring/HDD offers significant environmental advantages over traditional cut and cover pipeline installations. The technique is routinely used when conventional trenching or excavating is not practical, or when minimal surface disturbance is required.

“Cultural Heritage Management Plans were conducted to assess the potential impact on Aboriginal cultural heritage and work out how to protect artefacts,” Mr Bourne said.

“We worked with the Taungurung Land & Waters Council, the traditional owners in the area, to carry out field investigations and dig test pits along the proposed pipeline alignments.

“Ecological assessments were also conducted to identify and protect flora, particularly native vegetation, and fauna.”

The contractor for the Heathcote Sewer Scheme Project was Steve Standen Drainage.

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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