Historic under-river pipe replaced after 70 years of use

Two very large pipes in tunnel during construction. | Newsreel
Pipe hype: A major wastewater link is about to be renewed. | Picture credit: Supplied

A “siphon” pipe that has been transporting wastewater below the Brisbane River more nearly 70 years will be replaced over coming months.

Urban Utilities will replace the pipe that is situated about 60 metres below the river using both sides of the waterway. New pipe sections will be lowered into the tunnel from the Hamilton side while the old pipe is removed from the Bulimba side.

Urban Utilities CEO Paul Arnold described the $54 million exercise as a “once-in-a-generation” renewal of an important piece of essential infrastructure.

“The siphon has the unique job of transporting wastewater from thousands of homes and businesses on the southside of Brisbane under the river to our Eagle Farm Pump Station, where it’s then pumped to Luggage Point for treatment,” he said.

“It’s projects like these that show how much goes on behind the scenes to remove and treat all the wastewater from 1.6 million customers across our region.”

Mr Arnold said the second pipe in the siphon would continue to transport the normal daily wastewater flows while the other pipe was being replaced.

“We live in a climate of extremes here in South East Queensland and we plan for wet weather. During heavy rain, stormwater infiltrates our wastewater network, increasing flows,” he said.

“In the event of potential wet weather, we will be managing excess flows through a temporary emergency relief point.”

The project, which is being carried out by Fulton Hogan and is expected to be completed by mid 2024.