Minimising cultural impacts with trenchless

Apr 29, 2024

Through the benefits of trenchless technology, Yarra Valley Water is minimising impacts on the Upper Darebin Creek branch sewer project.

The project consists of building a 2.7km sewer pipe in Epping, which will provide essential sewer infrastructure to approximately 2400 surrounding commercial and residential properties. Construction began in May 2023, with microtunnelling used as the method of construction to reduce environmental impact. Around 187m of microtunnelling construction was completed from Masereti Park to Lydgate Terrace. Yarra Valley Water worked with delivery partner MFJ Constructions, with Pezzimenti Trenchless subcontracted for the microtunnelling works.

Yarra Valley Water also installed a 350m pipe with microtunelling to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage. “We believe minimising impacts to the Darebin Creek and the surrounding environmentally sensitive areas is paramount,” Yarra Valley Water acting general manager growth futures Bridie Fennessy said. “These methods were selected primarily because they minimise disruption to the environment and cultural significant area and reduce the need for extensive excavation. “One of the other benefits is that they’re often more cost-effective than traditional open-cut methods.”

The area surrounding construction has high cultural heritage significance. Yarra Valley Water worked with an Aboriginal-owned business Have A Dig in 2022 to identify potential impact excavation may have on the area. “This cultural salvage program involved a combination of hand and mechanical archaeological digs to identify, record and preserve artefacts,” Fennessy said.

“As part of the project’s design investigations, a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) was developed. “The CHMP was approved by the Registered Aboriginal Party for the area, which is the Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Conservation Cultural Heritage Council.”

Almost 700 Aboriginal stone artefacts were uncovered in Quarry Hills during complex assessment. The utility is still analysing the salvage report and is expecting the number to be significantly higher. Three of these Aboriginal pieces were recorded into the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register. “Trenchless technology helped minimise disruption to cultural heritage sites by allowing for more precise construction methods that avoid disturbing archaeological sites,” Fennessy said. “The pipes were installed as deep as eight meters underground, which resulted in minimal impact above the ground.”


Yara Valley Water

25-35 Lucknow Street

3132 Melbourne


+61 1300 304 688


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