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Utility concludes year with array of trenchless projects

In 2018, Queensland Urban Utilities continued its run of trenchless infrastructure upgrades, including the completion of a major sewer upgrades.

Queensland Urban Utilities’ trenchless projects last year included an AU$1.8 million sewer upgrade, which used a microtunnel boring machine (MTBM), a final breakthrough on another microtunnelling project, the progression of a AU$20 million cross-river water pipeline using horizontal directional drilling (HDD) and the completion of auger boring works on a sewerage installation.

Carseldine Sewer Upgrade

In December 2018, the utility completed an AU$1.8 million upgrade to the Carseldine sewerage network. The project was conducted as part of Queensland Urban Utilities’ 2018–19 AU$315 million capital works program.

In addition to building a new maintenance hole, an MTBM was used to install a new sewer main between Beams Road and Medallion Place Park. The project also included the decommissioning of a sewerage pump station, which was no longer required after the upgrade.

“We used microtunnelling to construct the new sewer main to avoid digging up the road, minimising impacts on the community and environment,” says Queensland Urban Utilities Spokesperson Michelle Cull.

“This allowed us to avoid road closures on busy Beams Road during construction and maintain pedestrian and cyclist access.

“Sewerage is a hidden service but a lot goes on behind the scenes so we can all flush and forget. It’s important that we continue to invest in new infrastructure to ensure the reliability of our network now and into
the future.”

The project took four months to complete and was delivered ahead of schedule.

Bulimba Creek Sewer Upgrade Stage 2

Two years after beginning its journey to install a 4.25 km sewer main between Mansfield and Carindale in Brisbane’s southeast, an MTBM known as Sewey broke through on 14 November 2018 at Settlers Street Park in Carindale.

The AU$55 million project will cater for future growth and development in the catchment area for the next 50 years, while also reducing the likelihood of sewerage overflow events. The new sewer will carry wastewater to a treatment plant on Gibson Island and is the second largest sewer pipeline in the utility’s network.

“After months of chewing her way through hard rock, Sewey emerged without the colourful design created by Easts Mt Gravatt Junior Rugby League Club member Caitlin Gamble,” says Queensland Urban Utilities Project Manager Will Campbell.

“Most importantly though, she completed her mission. The new trunk sewer from Carindale to Mansfield will meet the needs of future growth in southeast Brisbane until 2050 and cater for an additional 271,000 people.”

“As it’s a gravity trunk sewer, we’ve been working at depths of up to 50 m below ground, so using modern technology was paramount to reduce the impact on the wider community and environment.”

At the time of writing, works were expected to be finished by March 2019, subject to weather and site conditions.

Murarrie-Pinkenba Cross River Water Pipeline

As part of its commitment to meeting the evolving water and sewerage needs of its customers and the community, Queensland Urban Utilities is constructing a AU$20 million cross-river water pipeline from Murarrie to Pinkenba in Brisbane, connecting the Bartleys Hill reservoir in Ascot and the Wellers Hill reservoir in Murarrie. The additional infrastructure will allow water to move between the two supply zones, ensuring a flexible and efficient supply.

Once finished, the project will help cater for future demand and ensure security of water supply to Pinkenba, Eagle Farm and Murarrie. It will also provide a water supply in the event of an unplanned disruption or planned maintenance in one of the water supply zones.

Ms Cull says the new pipeline will improve the utility’s network.

“Population on the north side of the river is expected to grow by 40,000 people over the next decade, so it’s important we’re building the infrastructure we need for the future,” she says.

“The new cross-river pipeline will service the suburbs of Hamilton, Eagle Farm and Pinkenba, as well as the thriving Australia TradeCoast Industrial Precinct, which includes the Brisbane Airport. By connecting two major water supply zones north and south of the river, we will also improve the resilience of our network.”

The 3 km cross-river water pipeline is a feat of engineering, involving the installation of a 1.1 km section of the new water main at a depth of 20 m beneath the river.

Queensland Urban Utilities Project Manager Peter Nortje says advanced trenchless technology was used to install the 800 mm diameter pipeline under the river and that an innovative bypass solution was used to minimise the impact to customers during connection works.

“Horizontal direction drilling was used to bore a path for the new pipe, which was then fed under the river with a large rig,” says Mr Nortje.

“We have also completed 1.2 km of new water pipe along Holt Street at Pinkenba and around 850 m of new pipeline along Queensport Road North at Murarrie.

“The team utilised technology commonly used in the oil and gas industry to do a ‘live cut-in’ of the new pipe to the water network on the south side of the river. This meant setting up a bypass so we didn’t have to interrupt supply to customers that rely on water 24/7 for their operations.”

The new pipeline is the largest water infrastructure project undertaken by Queensland Urban Utilities since the utility was formed in 2010. At the time of publication, the Murarrie Pinkenba Cross-River Water Pipeline was nearing completion and is expected to be completed in early 2019.

Lowood-Fernvale Sewer Upgrade

A crucial part of the AU$45 million sewer upgrade to improve service to the Lowood and Fernvale regions has been completed, with Queensland Urban Utilities finishing construction on the new sewer to connect the Ferny Gully Sewerage Pump Station to the new Lowood Sewage Treatment Plant.

As part of the project, almost 7 km of the new pipeline was laid, including through the use of trenchless thrust boring under Forest Hill Fernvale Road and the Brisbane Valley Highway.

Ms Cull says the new sewer main, which will transport sewage from Fernvale to the new Lowood Sewage Treatment Plant, is an important part of the project’s infrastructure.

“The new plant, which is being built at Vernor, will be able to treat up to 1.5 million L of sewage per day from residents in Lowood and Fernvale,” she says.

“By using trenchless technology we were able to bore under the two roads to reduce traffic disruptions. Work on the two sections outside the Fernvale State School were also successfully completed during the June and September school holidays to avoid impacting the school community.”

Ms Cull said the AU$45 million sewer upgrade would double the capacity of the existing network, to cater for growth and development in the Somerset region.

This article was featured in the March edition of Trenchless Australasia. To view the magazine on your PC, Mac, tablet, or mobile device, click here.

For more information visit the Queensland Urban Utilities website.

If you have a project you would like featured in Trenchless Australasia contact Assistant Editor Chloe Jenkins at

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