Sewer aqueduct at Geelong

Barwon Water has announced it is expanding its program of sewer upgrades and repairs to protect the local environment and ensure the region’s network is reliable.

Many sewer mains in the region are several decades old, with some more than 100 years old. They are vulnerable to damage from tree roots, and from rubbish and wipes flushed down toilets and drains.

Barwon Water will invest more than $50 million between 2023–28 on the sewer upgrade program as part of a commitment made to customers through its 2023 Price Submission. Works will occur across sites in Geelong, the Colac Otway Shire, Surf Coast and the Bellarine Peninsula to safeguard the reliability of sewerage services by renewing hundreds of pipes.

Barwon Water Managing Director, Tracey Slatter, said the work would extend the life of the pipes and minimise the risk of blockages and sewer spills.

Most of the work will see sewerage pipes relined. It’s a multifaceted job that involves a CCTV assessment of the pipes to determine their condition, cleaning the pipes with high pressure water, and the installation of structural liners that are pulled into the existing pipeline via the maintenance holes, essentially creating a pipe within a pipe.

Ms Slatter emphasised that the sewer project encompasses works that are essential to ensure the sewerage network continues to function well.

“It’s very important work as it ultimately reduces the risk of spills impacting local areas and ultimately the environment,” Ms Slatter said.

The location of mains means that Barwon Water will need to approach some property owners in order to access pipes from their property.

Ms Slatter said that affected customers would be notified of works being undertaken in their area and that Barwon Water would work with impacted customers to minimise disruption.

“Although some impacts are unavoidable, we are committed to minimising inconvenience to our customers and community,” Ms Slatter said.

The $50 million program is part of Barwon Water’s 2023 Price Submission and builds on the work carried out in the previous five years to upgrade sewers in the region.

The first round of works on the program will begin in Anglesea and Lorne in late June.

Assistant Editor, Utility magazine

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