Recycled water project future proofs the city

5 June 2019

A giant tunnelling machine, 2.5m in diameter, will begin boring under the Broadwater from Biggera Waters to South Stradbroke Island next month as part of one of the City’s largest ever infrastructure projects.

The machine will create the 1450m long tunnel starting in Quota Park as part of the first phase of the Long Term Recycled Water Release project which will eventually see recycled water released into the ocean several kilometres out from the Seaway.

A second underwater tunnel is also underway across the Nerang River from Southport to Main Beach as part of this first stage of the project. 

“This is one of the longest and most challenging marine pipeline crossings of its type ever undertaken in Australia. It is about future proofing our city which is expected to experience record population growth in coming years,” Mayor Tom Tate said.

The Mayor said the TBM or tunnel boring machine was required to drill 24 hours a day seven days a week.

“There are large earth forces involved here as it is boring under the Broadwater. It is too risky to stop, once it has started.”

He said significant noise mitigation measures were in place including the installation of noise mats, reduced vehicle movements on night shift, regular noise monitoring and the use of specialist equipment with inbuilt noise reduction measures.

Approximately 115 million litres per day of excess recycled water, treated to stringent health and environmental standards, is released into the ocean at the Seaway (Nerang River entrance) on the outgoing tide.

Excess recycled water has been released into the ocean via the Seaway since the early 1980s and is licensed by the Department of Environment and Science (DES).

We pipe this water across the city to use for irrigation of parks, golf courses and crops, and we are currently expanding the recycled water network so more users can take advantage of this sustainable and climate resilient water source.

Full details regarding the noise mitigation measures, the Long Term Recycled Water Release Plan, and a video demonstrating the drilling technique can be found at:

NOTE: The community is invited to attend a community open day on Sunday 23 June from 9am to noon for a sausage sizzle at Quota Park. They can inspect the machine launch shaft from a safe viewing platform and get a selfie inside one of the segments of the pipeline.

Birds eye shot of the gold coast beaches and skyline.