Pipeline Feasibility Study, Victoria, Australia

During consultation and as part of our client’s Mine Closure Strategy, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) raised the possibility of supplying water from a Recycled Water Plant (RWP) located in SW Victoria to assist in the implementation of their Mine Closure and Rehabilitation Plan.

Therefore, to evaluate the feasibility of this request, three “high-level” pipeline routes were proposed:

  • Option 1 (Inland) – Minimise elevation changes along the route as well as the sensitive coastal area where land use is more intensive (greater potential for impact on sensitive coastal ecology and recreational activities);
  • Option 2 (Coastal) – Along the foreshore coastal reserves to maximise access along Crown land; and
  • Option 3 (Direct) – Most direct using road right of ways (Crown land) to minimise access over private land or sensitive environmental areas (such as national parks).

Regulatory Requirements

All works approvals associated with this activity have been undertaken in consideration of the following regulations and guidelines:

  • Water Act 1989.
  • EPBC Act (1999).
  • Environment Protection Act (1970).
  • Land Acquisition and Compensation Act (1986)
  • Water Industry Regulations (2006)
  • Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988).
  • Environment Effects Act (1978).
  • Planning and Environment Act (1987).
  • Conservation, Forests and Lands Act (1987).

Project Results

The results indicated the pipeline would most likely be made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), have an inner diameter of 250 millimetres (mm) and a minimum of 3 pump sets to deliver a capacity of 100 litres per second (l/s) and overcome topographic constraints. In addition, numerous roads, waterways and potentially environmentally sensitive areas would require traversing, thereby adding cost and approval complications.

Excluding the time and cost required to undertake the required environmental approval activities, the total time from conception to commissioning is estimated to be in the order of 2.3 to 3.5 years for an above-ground pipe and 2.4 to 3.8 years for a buried pipe with a cost ranging from $17M to $22M.

Whilst the construction would likely bring temporary employment to a small local work-force and provide a use for recycled water, there is a significant effort and cost required to construct such a pipeline. Other options such as pumping groundwater and/or diversion of surface water are considered more feasible and justifiable to the community.

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