Pipelines form the backbone of Australia’s water distribution and sewer networks, allowing large amounts of water or wastewater to be transported over long distances for various purposes. Extending and maintaining pipeline networks is vital to ensure they can cater for the needs of a growing population and provide water security for both domestic uses and use in water-­reliant industries. Across Australia, a variety of significant water or sewer pipeline works are currently in progress, with others recently completed, or newly announced. Here, we take a look at a selection of these projects, their progress and the roles they will play in Australia’s water and wastewater future.

NSW

The Wah Wah Stock and Domestic Pipeline Project

The $43.4 million Wah Wah Stock and Domestic Pipeline Project is a key component of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area Modernisation Project, which has been funded by a $149.6 million Australian Government grant to Murrumbidgee Irrigation via the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program.

This pipeline will replace the existing system of open unlined channels with a piped system to deliver water to landholders across the 310,000hectare Wah Wah Stock and Domestic area.

MIARA, an alliance between Murrumbidgee Irrigation (MI), GHD, John Holland and UGL, is responsible for the construction of the modernisation project.

MI recently called for expressions of interest for companies experienced with on­-farm stock and domestic water supply systems to be appointed to a panel of approved providers.

The project is scheduled for completion by June 2018.

Central Tablelands Regional Water Security Pipeline Projects

Significant works are underway in NSW to expand the pipeline networks within the Central Tableland’s region to improve water access and water security.

Two large pipeline projects received funding in 2015: a $23.42 million project for pipelines from Orange to Molong Dam, and from Molong to Cumnock and Yeoval in the Cabonne Council area; and a $35.78 million project to build pipelines from Orange through Millthorpe to Blayney and Carcoar.

The $23.42 million Cabonne Project will include 65km of pipeline in total, consisting of 16km of raw water pipeline and 49km of potable water pipeline.

This project, which will be overseen by Cabonne Shire Council, received $16.7million funding through the NSW Government’s Restart NSW Water Security for Regions program and will deliver improved water security to Cabonne residents and reticulated potable water to the villages of Cumnock and Yeoval.

Meanwhile, the $35.78 million Orange City Council (OCC) and Central Tablelands Water (CTW) project consists of a 57km potable pipeline from Orange to Carcoar via Spring Hill, Millthorpe and Blayney and pump stations for bi­directional water transfers.

This project received $21.2 million funding through the NSW Government’s Restart NSW Water Security for Regions program.

Preliminary route selection for this pipeline has occurred and the consultation process, following the release of a Review of Environmental Factors, is underway.

Construction is expected to begin in September 2016 and be completed in May 2017.

These two new projects are not the only significant pipeline projects to have occurred in the Central Tableland’s region in recent years.

The 39km Macquarie River to Orange Pipeline Project was completed in mid­2015. This $47 million pipeline was funded with $20 million from the Australian Government’s National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns, $18.2 million from the NSW Government and $8.8 million from Orange City Council.

The Cockle Bay Towns Sewerage Project

The $11 million Cockle Bay Towns Sewerage Project is nearing completion. In late March 2016, Gosford City Council announced that 90 per cent of the project’s 13km of new street mains – which will transfer sewage to the nearby Kincumber Sewage Treatment Plant – have been installed and 80 per cent of the owners of unsewered properties in Empire Bay, Bensville and Kincumber South have signed connection agreements.

This project involves connecting more than 300 unsewered properties in Empire Bay, Bensville and Kincumber South to the sewerage system to deliver improved service to customers and better environmental outcomes.

Overall, it will see up to 33km of pipelines installed and a sewage pumping station constructed at Empire Bay.

Construction of the pump station is now underway, as is the process of installing pressure sewer units on properties, including up to 20km of discharge pipelines.

The Cockle Bay Towns Sewerage Project was awarded $4.7 million in funding from the NSW Government through its Priority Sewerage and Country Towns Water Supply and Sewerage programs.

Customer connections to the new sewerage system are expected to be available in mid to late 2016.

Other NSW projects

A number of other important pipeline projects are also in progress elsewhere in NSW.

These include the Yass Dam to Murrumbateman Pipeline Project, the Wyee Sewer Scheme, and the Newcastle CBD Sewer Main Revitalisation.

The Yass Dam to Murrumbateman project will see a pipeline constructed from the recently expanded Yass Dam to Murrumbateman in the Southern Tablelands, after 15 years of water restriction in the town. This project received a $6 million grant under the Commonwealth’s Stronger Regions program in May 2015.

The $26 million Wyee Sewer Scheme, announced in late 2014, will connect properties in the Wyee Township to the sewer system, replacing existing septic systems.

The project is funded by Hunter Water and the NSW Government under the Priority Sewerage Scheme and is expected to be complete by 2020.

The Newcastle CBD Sewer Main Revitalisation project is part of Hunter Water’s $115million package of works to upgrade Newcastle’s aging sewer infrastructure over the next 10 years.

Trenchless technology will be used to reline the cast iron sewer pipes with polymer tubing. Pipes in 16 key inner city streets will be revitalised, with work starting in February and finishing in June 2016.

QLD

Brisbane S1 Main Sewer upgrade

Queensland Urban Utilities is currently undertaking a $130 million staged upgrade of Brisbane’s oldest sewer pipe. This project intends to extend the sewer main’s lifespan by another 50 years and enable it to cater for population growth.

The project involves relining a 5.7km section of the sewer from James Street in Fortitude Valley to the Eagle Farm pump station in Bunya Street, and will occur in a number of stages.

Trenchless technology is being used to reline the 1.5m diameter concrete pipe with a new polyethylene pipe.

The first stage of the project began in March 2015 and won the Australasian Society Trenchless Technology (ASTT) Rehabilitation Project of the Year award at the No­Dig Down Under Gala Awards in 2015.

Finishing works between Amy Street and Riverview Terrace took place in April 2016, including the final sewer line inspection, grouting and cleaning.

The entire project is expected to be completed by 2019.

The Kenmore­Jindalee New Cross River Pipeline Upgrade project

The $17million Kenmore­Jindalee New Cross River Pipeline Upgrade is being undertaken by QUU and contractor, Rob Carr, to replace infrastructure damaged during floods in 2011.

The new 540m tunnel under the Brisbane River will be constructed using laser guided microtunnelling technology.

Following revised risk assessments, the locations of the launch and receival shafts have been decided and construction of the launch shaft is in progress.

Once the launch shaft is finished, the tunnel borer will be launched. After launch, tunnelling is expected to take about six months.

Once complete, the new water and sewer pipes will be installed inside the concrete tunnel and pulled through.

The construction team recently completed the installation of 2km of new sewer main pipes in Jindalee, to connect with the existing main alongside Centenary Highway.

SA

Hallett Cove Wastewater Network Upgrade Project

SA Water’s $10.8million Hallett Cove Wastewater Network Upgrade involves significant enhancements to wastewater pumping stations at Capella Drive and Reliance Road in Hallett Cove, as well as associated pipe works, and the construction of a new pipeline.

Contractor, Leed Engineering and Construction, commenced works in mid-­February. The project is anticipated to run until September 2016.

TAS

The Upper Ringarooma Irrigation Scheme

The $28 million Upper Ringarooma Irrigation Scheme was officially opened in March 2016, after being completed in June 2015, and the delivery of its first irrigation supplies in November 2015.

The project involved the installation of 38.5km of underground high­density polyethylene (HDPE) pipeline, in addition to construction of a 6,500 megalitre dam and two pump stations. Contractor VEC Civil Engineering was responsible for the pipeline’s design and construction.

$19.1 million of the project’s funding came from the Australian Government, $1.7 million from the Tasmanian Government and the remainder from private contributions.

VIC

Harcourt Rural Modernisation Project

The $40million Harcourt Rural Modernisation Project, being undertaken by Coliban Water, is replacing the region’s concrete and earthen gravity channel system with a pressurised piped system.

The project includes constructing around 65km of pressurised pipeline through the Harcourt area; two pump stations located at Faraday and Barkers Creek Reservoir; and a balancing storage tank.

Works began in March 2014, however disputes with the original contractor put the Harcourt project on hold in 2015. As a result, Coliban Water took back the remaining backbone and reticulation network pipeline works and awarded them to Leed Engineering and Construction.

The project is now making progress, with 18.5km out of 19km (97 per cent) of the backbone pipeline and 32.1km out of 44km (77 per cent) of the network pipeline complete as of March 2016.

South West Loddon Rural Water Supply project

The recently announced South West Loddon Rural Water Supply project will see south­west Loddon Shire connected to Victoria’s water grid to provide water security to the region’s rural communities.

Approximately 1,300km of pipelines will be built to link the West Waranga Channel with the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline.

Stage one of the project will involve the construction of 40km of trunk pipelines and associated infrastructure such as hydrants and pump stations around Korong Vale, Wychitella, Buckrabanyule and Woosang.

Under stage two of the South West Loddon Rural Water Supply Project, more than 260 farm businesses and 370 other rural properties will be connected to the grid.

The project is expected to cost around $80million, which includes $40million from the Victorian Government and a $20million contribution from Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water and landholders.

The Commonwealth Government will also be asked to contribute. Another connection to the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline, the $245,000 Coonooer Bridge peripheral pipeline extension project, was also announced.

This project will build around 8km of stock and domestic pipeline off the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline to connect properties in and around Coonooer Bridge.

Other Victorian projects

In addition to having a range of pipeline works currently underway, Victoria has also seen a number of major pipeline projects recently completed or extended beyond their original scope.

For instance, South East Water’s Peninsula ECO Project involved the construction of a pressure sewerage system to replace the septic tanks and onsite treatment plants of more than 16,000 properties.

Throughout the project, two pump stations, 15km of sewer main pipes, 231km of sewer reticulation, and more than 16,000 sewer connections were constructed.

This project was originally scheduled to take 36 months and cost $357million. But leading edge technology and innovative drilling techniques cut the timeframe to two years and reduced the overall cost at completion to a total of $255million, meaning that the savings could be returned to customers who connected to the scheme.

Meanwhile, the $2billion GMW Connections Project, involving the construction of an upgraded agricultural irrigation network across the Goulburn­-Murray Irrigation District, is undergoing a reset.

This comes after a review, commissioned by the Commonwealth Government and undertaken by GHD, found that while the project aims remain unchanged, conditions are now significantly different than when the contract was first developed, requiring the project to be reshaped.

A new project management team have been appointed as the new scope of the project is being developed.

The $120m Sunraysia Modernisation Project by Lower Murray Water saw open irrigation channels replaced with a more efficient pipeline system to provide water to the Sunraysia area’s irrigators.

In October 2015, contractor GOLD JV began commissioning more than 10km of large diameter pipelines in the Merbein and Red Cliffs irrigation districts.

As part of a project enhancement, which more than doubled the original scope of the project, contractor Comdain Infrastructure has commenced the simultaneous installation of two metre and one metre diameter pipelines in the Red Cliffs Irrigation District.

The project is scheduled for completion by August 2017.

WA

The Warren­-Blackwood Regional Water Supply Scheme

Water Corporation’s Warren-­Blackwood Regional Water Supply Scheme includes a number of pipeline projects upgrades, as part of a wide range of staged works intended to increase the long-­term water security of eight towns in the region – Boyup Brook, Hester, Greenbushes, Balingup, Mullalyup, Kirup, Bridgetown and Manjimup.

When complete, the towns will be connected a single, robust network of supply sources and infrastructure. Works currently underway include the Millstream­-to-­Greenbushes Pipeline and Greenbushes to Kirup Link.

The Millstream­to­Greenbushes Pipeline Project, which involves the installation of a new 16.2km pipeline between Millstream Dam and the town of Greenbushes, commenced in November 2013.

It is expected to be complete around July 2016. Also included in the project are two pump stations and two 1 million litre storage tanks. Meanwhile, the Greenbushes to Kirup Link, a 23km pipeline between Greenbushes and Kirup, is in the design development stage and construction is expected to start in November 2017.

Pipelines already completed as part of the scheme include the Hester-­to-­Boyup Brook pipeline upgrade, which duplicated an existing 9km pipeline and was completed in October 2015; and a pipeline to link the Nannup bore to Manjimup Dam in 2013.

Farmlands Water Supply Project

Water Corporation’s three­-year, $32 million Farmlands Water Supply project aims to improve water supply services in the Farmlands area of WA’s Goldfields and Agricultural Region.

This project involves various packages of work to reduce leaks and breaks on 7,800km of the area’s water supply network. More than 64km of pipeline will be replaced and 7,500 pipeline joints repaired overall.

The pipeline repair work is proceeding ahead of schedule with more than 3,000 joints expected to be completed by the end of June 2016.

Eight of the first ten pipeline replacement contracts were awarded to local Wheatbelt contractors, with another two awarded to a joint venture.

These ten projects will replace around 15km of pipeline and be completed around mid­2016. Another ten pipeline replacement projects are in the design phase, preceding invitations to tender.

Works are expected to continue on sections of the project through to 2018.

NT

Darwin CBD Transmission Water Main Project

Power and Water Corporation is undertaking infrastructure upgrades to improve water infrastructure in the Parap, Woolner, Stuart Park and Darwin CBD areas to cater for population growth and upgrade assets that are nearing the end of their useful life.

Stage 1A of the Darwin­Berrimah/Northern Suburbs Water Strategy involved the construction of a new water main along Stuart Highway from Bagot Road to the Parap Water Tank.

This work was required because the old transmission main was unable to cope with required flows, resulting in choking, meaning a larger main was required.

Work on this $5million project began in May 2015. During Stage 2, the water main will be extended from Parap Tank to Armidale Street.

Completion of second stage will allow for future growth and development in Stuart Park and the Darwin financial year.

Jessica Dickers

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