Hunter Water uses HDD to construct new pipeline under Swansea Channel

Hunter Water is constructing a new pipeline under Swansea Channel using horizontal directional drilling (HDD), as part of a AU$3 million project to improve water security for residents in Swansea, New South Wales.

Kurri Kurri-based trenchless contractor Maxibor is completing the HDD installation of the 300 m pipeline, at depths of up to 20 m below the channel.

An estimated 4,500 properties south of Swansea Bridge receive their water from a single water main laid on the floor of the channel. A failure in the pipeline’s underwater section would result in homes, schools and businesses in the area being without water for up to a week due to the difficulty of having to make the repairs under water.

Hunter Water Executive Manager for Investment and Innovation Darren Cleary said the new pipeline would give Swansea residents the water security expected in the modern age.

“The nature of supplying water to the area means we need to transport it across Swansea Channel. With Swansea Bridge opening regularly for boat traffic in and out of Lake Macquarie, services like water have been laid on the channel floor using the best technology of the day.

“If the current pipeline breaks in the underwater section at Swansea Channel, it could take a week to repair using divers and underwater equipment. Hunter Water would then have to send a pipe across Swansea Bridge during the evening to refill the reservoirs while repairs were underway.

“Although the reservoirs in Swansea and nearby suburbs are larger than most, our modelling shows some residents would run out of water within 24 hours of a break. To remove the risk of residents running out of water, a second pipeline is being tunneled underground from Little Pelican to Swansea using a technique called HDD.

“Residents will have two connections to Hunter Water’s network, essentially providing a safety net in case of a break. Thanks to this project thousands of residents plus hotels, resorts, clubs and businesses won’t face the prospect of a lengthy water outage should the existing pipeline break.

“The existing pipeline was laid using the best technology of its time. Today, however, we’re able to utilise the innovative HDD technique, allowing us to lay the new pipeline deep beneath Swansea Channel away from tidal movements and salt water.

Hunter Water said the project will be completed by Christmas.

For more information visit the Hunter Water website.