Tower banner July, August (left)
Tower banner July, August (right)

Power of people for emergency responses

Interflow explains how having extensive in-house experience and a dedicated team can assist in ensuring positive outcomes following unexpected disasters.

One of Australia’s largest pipeline renewal companies, Interflow, has firsthand knowledge of the importance of experience, dedication and initiative when disaster strikes.

After the 2011 earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand, eight years of works to renew and rebuild the city’s infrastructure begun and Interflow was one of the first contractors on site to help restore and repair the damaged wastewater pipelines and sewage services.

Over the initial five-year repair phase (2011–16), Interflow brought 16 Australian-based staff to Christchurch, while appointing 20 new staff to the pre-existing 22-person Christchurch-based team.

Interflow General Manager – New Zealand Blair Telfer said every member rallied to assist with the repair operation and get the city back up and running as quickly as possible.

“There were a number of differing projects that were outside of the norm that required bespoke design,” said Mr Telfer.

“By having a team of experienced specialists and engineers in Australia supporting our New Zealand crews, we were able to brainstorm and come up with innovative ideas and then prove that they would be robust and meet design and specification requirements.

“As trenchless techniques are quite unique and specialised by their very nature, there are few trained persons.

“Training had to happen on the job.

“Fortunately, Interflow had a team of dedicated technical trainers who provided on-the-job training and certification, which sped up productivity and ensured that high quality standards were maintained.”

While appropriate training may be a challenge in one situation, acquiring the necessary tools and materials can be another.

In 2018, a failure in the City of Gold Coast’s Eastern Force Main was detected in one of the two large rising mains that takes sewage from about 200,000 people in the city’s north to the Coombabah Sewage Treatment Plant.

A Germany-manufactured Primus Liner® was selected for the job and Interflow Manager Emerging Markets Will Zillmann said Interflow’s industry connections and contacts meant that the necessary tools and materials were procured earlier than the anticipated two-week to three month period.

Knowing that Sydney Water had additional correctly-sized Primus Line stock and that Queensland Urban Utilities owned the tools required, Interflow contacted each of the utilities, which were willing to help during the emergency.

“These industry connections and relationships were key to getting the materials and tools we needed to complete this job, which saved on freight costs and meant Interflow could begin renewing the pipes within days of the fault being detected,” said Mr Zillman.

Through these experiences, Interflow credits having well established contacts; mobile necessary personnel, tools and materials; extensive in-house experience; and a dedicated team to ensuring the best chances of positive outcomes when faced with unexpected disasters.

For more information visit the Interflow website.

If you have news you would like featured in Trenchless Australasia contact Managing Editor Chloe Jenkins at

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