Adapting to the region’s growing water and wastewater needs

Gippsland Water has completed two major projects to provide local communities with water security. The Australian Pipeliner takes a look at the two projects helping increase water supply and improve sewer system capacity.

Securing water and ensuring sewer systems are optimal for the future is vital, and no one knows this quite like Gippsland Water.

The utility’s new pipeline is delivering more water to Drouin via the Moe-Warragul interconnect, creating a second source for the quickly expanding Victorian town.

As local communities’ demographics are booming, these projects were needed for a continued water security. Image: Gippsland Water

Gippsland Water Senior Project Delivery Lead David Peake said this project had been crucial for the communities in the region.

“The Warragul western ring main is a large diameter transfer main that loops through a largely undeveloped area to the west and south of Warragul. The project has allowed for future development between the Warragul and Drouin townships,” he said.

“Hydraulic modelling has also shown that the addition of the Warragul western ring main balances the pressure and flow characteristics of the Warragul water supply system, which significantly decreases the reliance on pre-existing large diameter assets in the township.”

According to Peake, Warragul, Drouin, and surrounding towns have developed significantly in the last decade and the western ring main is part of Gippsland Water’s work to proactively manage the region’s growing water and wastewater needs.

Construction of the Warragul western ring main began in mid-2022 and was completed in mid-2023. Image: Gippsland Water

The main was constructed using horizontal directional drilling (HDD) methods, which was selected to minimise the impact of the project on native flora and fauna, including the Warragul Burrowing Crayfish and Giant Gippsland Earthworm habitats.

“The main extends for about 4.3km and consists of a 0.7km of DN450 PVC-M PN16 pipe section which was constructed via open trenching. 3.1km of DN560 PE100 PN 16 pipe was installed using trenchless (HDD) methods and 0.5km of DN560 PE100 PN16 was also constructed via open trenching,” Peake said.

“The project was largely bored rather than open trenched to minimise the impacts to the natural environment.”

The new pipeline travels in a north-westerly direction through road reserves from Butlers Track to the railway crossing on Lardners Track.

It has also provided an alternative supply to the town of Warragul that can be used during maintenance or emergency work, avoiding interruptions to customers’ water supply.

According to Gippsland Water, Warragul and Drouin are two of the fastest growing towns in the region, and understand that building water and wastewater infrastructure is vital to keep ahead of the growth – and the Warragul western ring main project is an essential part of this work.

The pipeline will assist development in the south-west growth corridor of Warragul. It will also increase the volume and security of water supplies for Drouin.

Through two crucial projects, Gippsland has provided the Warragul communities with an increased water security. Image: Gippsland Water

The water main will be constructed around existing urban areas to provide an additional main to supply water to Drouin, with further extensions of the pipeline planned in the future, in line with local urban development.

Throughout the process, Gippsland Water has actively worked to protect environmental and cultural heritage values, with environmental assessments completed for the Giant Gippsland Earthworm, Warragul Burrowing Crayfish and Strzelecki Gums.

The utility is committed to protecting environmental and cultural heritage values as the project continues, as well as making sure the works cause minimal disruption to the local species by using underground boring and keeping the route along previously disturbed areas of road.

Gippsland Water is working with Traditional Owners to protect cultural heritage and any artefacts found.

Community consultation and engagement was also inherent to the project, as Gippsland Water engaged with residents and stakeholders while planning for this work, including consulting residents along the pipe route.

Gippsland Water has also started works to increase the Warragul’s north-east region’s sewer system capacity starting this year.

The project, for which a $7 million contract was awarded late last year, involves upgrading a 1.5km section of existing sewer main by installing a new larger pipeline.

Gippsland Water Managing Director Sarah Cumming said the new sewer main was an important upgrade and would help prepare for Warragul’s future.

“We always look ahead and plan for the future to determine what services our customers will need and when,” she said.

The new pipeline will transfer all wastewater from homes and businesses in Warragul’s north-east future boundary to the town’s wastewater treatment plant.

Construction will begin within the boundaries of the Warragul wastewater treatment plant before progressing in a northerly direction towards Stoddarts Road.

“It’s essential for our network to be able to withstand pressures like population growth, rainfall variability and climate change,” Cumming said.

“The existing sewer main was built in 1971, when there were fewer homes and businesses in the area, but it is now nearing capacity.

“Upgrades like this one also benefit the environment by reducing the risk of spills and main failures.”

Construction will begin in the coming weeks, with traffic management in place on roads at various times during construction.

The project is on track to be completed in mid 2025.

This article featured in the May edition of The Australian Pipeliner. 

Subscribe to The Australian Pipeliner for the latest project and industry news.

Send this to a friend