Bulimba Sewer Trunk Main

Urban Utilities
2017 - 2019

high sound wall erected


increase in catchment flows accommodated


hour construction activities


open trench pipeline construction

Abergeldie, in a joint venture with Obayashi successfully delivered the Bulimba Sewer Trunk Main project for Urban Utilities, a critical upgrade to enhance sewerage infrastructure across Brisbane. The project involved the installation of a gravity trunk sewer using innovative trenchless technology. The contract was varied at the client’s request to include additional works, including the pipe-jacked construction of a rising main on Fortrose Street and replacing the Jindalee water main. This extension proved to be particularly impressive, earning the project the esteemed IPEAQ Innovation in Water Award in 2019, as well as recognition as a Finalist at the CCF QLD 2020 Earth Awards.

Scope of works

The scope of work included:

  • Pipe jacking an 1800mm diameter pipeline for 4.2km beneath Brisbane City Council parkland, Scrub Road, and Allan Innes Field.
  • Excavation and shoring of launch and reception pits up to 41m for a tunnel boring machine, re-purposed as access and maintenance portals for post-project. 
  • Construction of 565m of open trench pipeline, including a Bulimba Creek crossing.
  • Construction of a primary sewer isolation gate, merging, and control structures.
  • Established a ventilation system, odour control, and four sewer penstocks with manual and remote electrical actuation; also, cut into existing network pipelines at four points.

Complexity and community management

The construction involved works in confined spaces of approximately 8m, often with neighbouring houses just 10m away. To mitigate the impact of this proximity, the team erected noise walls, reaching heights of up to 6m and spanning lengths of 70m. These required extensive foundations and posts. To address noise concerns, temporary fencing equipped with soft noise padding was installed around the windows of neighbouring residential properties. Construction solutions to other sensitive community issues included the construction of a footpath to enable the community to easily navigate around one of the dilapidated manholes. Following the construction, offset planting was undertaken to enhance the surroundings of other manholes constructed throughout the project.

Community engagement

Community engagement was a focus of this project. Early engagement included open days before the commencement of tunnelling works. A naming and colour design competition helped to engage younger members of the community, with the tunnel-boring machine named 'Sewey' on its launch day. The project temporarily impacted the East Mt Gravatt Junior Rugby Club's field, prompting the team to not only reinstall the scoreboard but also upgrade it. Throughout, the project team actively engaged with the community, helping to minimise disruption and ensure the works were delivered as efficiently as possible.

A trunk main to support population growth

The new trunk main has helped to support the growth in Brisbane's south-eastern suburbs and mitigates the risk of sewage overflow, protecting local waterways.