EPA recommends approval for underground pipeline: Report 1592

Release date: 
23 January 2017

The Environmental Protection Authority has recommended conditions for an underground pipeline which intersects a small section of a Bush Forever site.

The Water Corporation’s proposal for the Balannup Wastewater Pressure Main is 4.5 kilometres long and runs from the Collared Street Pump Station, Harrisdale to the Waterworks Road Pump Station, Haynes in Armadale.

EPA Chairman Dr Tom Hatton said the majority of the project was located within existing road reserves through residential areas, presenting no significant environmental issues for 3km of its length. This section of the pipeline would be constructed using conventional open trench excavation methods.

However, the remaining 1.5km, between Skeet Road and Anstey Road, crossed a Bush Forever site and would be constructed within an existing largely cleared track using a “trenchless” pipe installing technology, known as the EcoPlough technique. No dewatering or excavation is required for this method.

Dr Hatton said following rigorous examination of the proposal’s potential impacts on three key environmental factors - Flora and Vegetation, Hydrological Processes and Inland Waters Environmental Quality - the EPA recommended the proposal was environmentally acceptable, subject to seven strict conditions.

“The EPA has paid particular attention to the section of the proposal which crosses the Anstey-Keane Bush Forever site, assessing and analysing the potential indirect impacts on the adjacent sensitive ecological communities ,” Dr Hatton aid.

“The conditions recommended include the need for a Construction Environmental Management Plan, which will minimise indirect impacts to flora and vegetation by preventing the introduction or spread of weeds and ensure diseases and pathogens are not introduced into disease free areas.”

Dr Hatton said recognising the sensitivities of the significant vegetation, the proponent undertook site specific investigations to better understand the hydrology of the area. He said the EPA had also recommended the need for the implementation of a Baseline Survey and Monitoring Plan to demonstrate that the proposal did not result in indirect impacts to hydrological processes or a decline in the health of the Threatened Ecological Community.

“Unlike the EPA’s recommendation to not approve the Keane Road Strategic Link in 2014, the underground pipeline would require minimal clearing of 0.1 hectares of native vegetation and would not result in the fragmentation of vegetation and interruption of fauna movement in the bushland,” Dr Hatton said.

The EPA’s report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a two-week public appeal period, closing 6 February 2017. Appeals are administered independently by the Appeals Convenor and can be made at www.appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au

The Minister for Environment will make the final decision.

EPA Report 1592 is available at http://epa.wa.gov.au/proposals/balannup-wastewater-pressure-main

Media Contact: Fiona Adolph 0400 866 450