Project 1: Belconnen Trunk Sewer Augmentation

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Public Consultation 

Public consultation to inform the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS201800022) and Development Application (DA201935509) for Project 1 was undertaken from 24 November 2018 to 22 July 2019 and included public surveys, community information sessions, community walks at proposed sites, and opportunity to provide submissions and feedback.

The revised EIS and concurrent DA was lodged with Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) in June 2020, with the DA placed on public notification in August 2020. An additional Development Application (DA202037223) was also required to reflect construction access from Homann Place, Flynn.

The EIS was determined by EPSDD to be complete in December 2020 with Development Approval granted:
• DA201935509 – Trunk sewer and North Latham OCU – Approval granted on 23 December 2020 
• DA202037223 – Homann Place construction access – Approval granted 26 August 2020

Project location

The map below shows the route of the proposed 2.4km pipeline between Copland Drive, Melba and Tillyard Drive, Flynn.

Since the draft EIS was submitted the size of the trunk sewer has been increased from a diameter of 1100mm to 1200mm to account for changes made to future development in the ACT Planning Strategy (November 2018). Under the latest strategy the proportion of infill development has been increased compared to the previous plan. This has resulted in an increase in future loading on the new sewer with the size increase required to accommodate this.

Odour control unit

The proposed location of the odour control unit (OCU) for project 1 is in north Latham on Ginninderra Drive, opposite Tillyard Drive (as seen on the map below). An artist’s impression of what the OCU will look like is also provided.

Building Finishes

Icon Water is still seeking feedback relating to how the OCU buildings will be finished. We use a range of different techniques to paint or finish our infrastructure ranging from graphic art through to simple painting. Icon Water would like to gather community feedback relating to preferences for the finishes on these structures. Below are some example finishes from other projects or that may be applied. Please send us an email, or talk to us on 6248 3111 (option 9) if you have any feedback about the building finishes.


Pipe bridge 

As part of the construction, a pipe bridge will need to be built across Ginninderra Creek. Below is an artist’s impression of how the pipe bridge might look. A schematic of the pipe bridge is also found below.

During the initial submission of the planning documentation for Project 1, feedback was received from the community requesting whether the pipe bridge can be modified to also support a pedestrian and bike path.

We performed an assessment of the possibility of the pipe bridge over Ginninderra Creek being upgraded to accommodate a pedestrian and bike path. Although a pedestrian and bike path would provide benefit to the local community, these upgrades were unfortunately cost prohibitive.

Project Delivery

In June 2020, Icon Water engaged Diona Contractors under a Design and Construct Contract to deliver these works. Diona have performed the detailed design of the trunk sewer and are currently establishing site to construct the new trunk sewer with clearing of required existing vegetation soon to follow. Some photos of this early work (March 2021) are provided below:

Photo 1: Site Compound Establishment – Corner of Ginninderra and Copland Drive

Photo 2: Site Compound Establishment – Corner of Ginninderra and Copland Drive

Photo 3: Site Compound Establishment – Corner of Ginninderra and Copland Drive

Detailed design of the Odour Control Units is progressing and it is expected that this will be completed by the middle of 2021.

Upon completion of works, the sites will be restored using dryland and native grasses along with tree plantings.  As part of this, Icon Water will work with the Ginninderra Catchment Group to raise community awareness about the value of the native grasses that will be planted as part of the restoration works.


  • Why did you choose to put the Belconnen trunk sewer pipe in the proposed location?

    We investigated several options to increase the capacity of the existing sewer system to meet future population requirements. These options included:

    • increasing the size of the pipe in the current Belconnen trunk sewer 
    • duplicating the current Belconnen trunk sewer
    • installing a new overflow tank
    • alternative locations for new pipes
    • installation of pinch vales across the network to provide additional storage. 

    Each option was assessed against a range of criteria including environmental impact, people and places, public health, work safety and cost. Detailed assessment of these options resulted in our preferred and proposed option of duplicating the current trunk sewer. This option was chosen based on long term performance, cost, risk, impacts to environment and community during construction and operation. 

  • Why didn't you look into building it on the southern side of Ginninderra Drive?

    There are several reasons why the new sewer is not proposed to be constructed on the southern side of Ginninderra Drive. These reasons include:  

    • location of existing high voltage electricity infrastructure on the southern side of Ginninderra drive and required set backs from these services and surrounding residences
    • challenging topography, which would greatly increase the cost of construction
    • a pipe bridge of greater length (than the current option) being required at the western end of the pipe alignment. 

    It is important to note that the location of the existing electricity infrastructure and stipulated set back distances prevents the new sewer from being constructed on the southern side of Ginninderra Drive. Even setting this reason aside, the challenging topography and longer length of sewer bridge would significantly increase the cost of the project.

  • You have indicated that the OCUs should not smell. What happens if I notice odour?

    We encourage anyone noticing sewer odour to talk to us. We have a robust process for investigating and addressing odour complaints. Odour can be due to a number is things, such as issues with internal plumbing or within our network. The presence of odour can indicate a fault, or blockage which we needs to be investigated.   
  • How are the Belconnen Trunk Sewer projects related to the wetlands project on the corner of Ginninderra and Copland Drive?

    The wetlands project is being managed by the ACT Government. It is part of the ACT Healthy Waterways initiative to improve the quality of water flowing into our lakes and waterways and downstream into the Murrumbidgee River system and the wider Murray-Darling Basin. 
    The Belconnen trunk sewer upgrade is a separate project managed by Icon Water. The trunk sewer upgrade will increase the capacity of our sewerage network to transport more waste to our sewage treatment plant. The increased capacity will also reduce the risk of any sewage overflow into Ginninderra  Creek during extreme wet weather events.  
    It is proposed that the additional trunk sewer will connect into the existing sewer network near the wetland, on a neighbouring site. We are in discussions with the ACT Government to ensure that the two separate projects do not impact on each other. We anticipate that the wetlands project will be finalised before works on the Belconnen trunk sewer upgrade begin.
    Whilst these are separate projects, each has a focus on protecting and improving the water quality in the local waterways. 

  • What is it?

    Project 1 is the largest of the upgrade projects and it includes construction of:

    • approximately 2.4 kilometres of predominately underground sewer pipe;
    • a pipeline bridge that will support the new sewer across over Ginninderra Creek; and
    • an OCU at Latham North.
  • What will happen to the playground at the end of Delany Court, Melba during construction?

    We had originally planned to consult with the community regarding whether this playground should be relocated, however following feedback, a decision has been made to have the playground remain in its current location. Consequently, during construction of the trunk sewer pipe the existing playground will be dismantled. Following installation of the new trunk sewer a new playground will be constructed in the existing site (at the end of Delany Court). This will involve some downtime for the playground of up to six months. It is expected that construction on this length of the project will occur in approximately March 2021. Restoration of the area will see a new playground installed to current standards. 
  • Why is this project needed?

    As Canberra grows, the demand on our water and sewer infrastructure increases too. When the Belconnen trunk sewer was completed in 1968 the population of Canberra was approximately 60,000 and whilst future population growth was planned for, it is not efficient to build for what you may not need. So demand is constantly reassessed as the needs of the community change. Today the population of Canberra is over 400,000 and additional capacity is now needed. Increasing the capacity of the sewer also ensures that any risk of overflow into Ginninderra Creek is significantly reduced providing additional protection to the environment and this important waterway.
  • Will the bike path that runs close to Project 1 be usable during construction?

    We appreciate that the area where these projects are planned is used and enjoyed by the local community. We will be making effort to ensure impacts are minimised. During construction sections of the bike path will need to be closed temporarily, however alternate cycle and walking routes will be provided. At this stage we are yet to confirm details of the alternate routes, however we have been consulting with recreational users and various community groups to establish suitable alternate routes.
  • How long will construction take?

    Construction is planned to commence in early 2021. The primary site compound will be established on the corner of Ginninderra and Copland Drive. Construction is expected to take 18 months. To minimise impact to the community, construction will be undertaken in stages along the corridor and we will progressively restore areas as we work.
  • How will this project be constructed?

    The potential impacts and required management measures were determined as part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. The revised EIS and DA for Project 1 were lodged with the ACT Government’s Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) in June 2020 for assessment. The EIS process is being undertaken in accordance with ACT planning approval requirements under the Planning and Development Act 2007 for a concurrent submission.
  • How does the new length of sewerage pipe connect into the existing sewer network?

    The new length of sewer pipe will connect into existing sewerage infrastructure (i.e. Latham Trunk Sewer) at Tillyard drive which flows south to the existing Belconnen Trunk Sewer and on to the treatment plant at Lower Molonglo.
  • How will you restore the area?

    Icon Water will return the area to as close as possible to its original condition. The majority of the construction would be located below ground and constructed within open grassed areas. Restoration will occur progressively. As one part of the pipeline is completed, restoration will commence. This will continue along the whole pipeline corridor. 

    Where elements of the project are above ground, including the OCU facility and the proposed pipe bridge, these areas will be restored or landscaped. Icon Water will work with the ACT Government, who own the land, and other stakeholder groups to ensure the restoration of these areas.

  • How did you decide upon the location for this project?

    As part of the initial stages of this project, Icon Water developed several options and undertook a series of feasibility studies to investigate the best location for this project to meet the project needs and objectives. Four key options were considered and assessed against factors including impact on neighbourhoods, community value, safety, environment, financial implications, and potential design effectiveness. 

    Following consideration of the options, Icon Water identified the proposed project as the preferred option.

  • What is a pipeline bridge?

    A pipeline bridge is a structure that supports a pipeline across a low area such as a gully or creek. In the case of a trunk sewer pipeline, the bridge is necessary to maintain the correct level of the sewer and to ensure appropriate flow is maintained. The pipeline bridge will support the pipeline  above any areas where flooding may occur. The proposed location of Project 1 will mean that a pipeline bridge will be needed to cross Ginninderra Creek. 
  • How deep will the sewer pipe be?

    The sewer will be laid at a depth of 2.5m to 6m. The depth will vary along the alignment in order to ensure appropriate fall of the gravity fed pipe, and due to the overland topography.