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Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

Platitudes pour in for poo pipe

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Lismore’s recently completed $15 million Southern Trunk Main has picked up a major engineering excellence award.

The infrastructure project that is expected to boost development and ease housing shortages in the Lismore area by allowing more land releases took out the Design and/or Construction of a Local Government/Public Works Project category at the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA) awards.

A surprised Lismore City Council’s works manager Darren Patch and project manager Lucas Bridgeman accepted the award at the institute’s recent state conference in Sydney.

‘They called out the highly commended award and when it wasn’t us we thought, “Ah well, that’s it”. There’s some pretty strong competition from around the state – we didn’t expect to hear our name after that,’ Mr Patch said.

‘It’s fantastic to get recognition from your peers in the industry – they obviously recognised the huge input of engineers and trades staff in delivering this significant project for Lismore.

‘It’s a great success for Council and a tribute to the quality of staff we have here. They have top-shelf, industry-recognised skills and capabilities.’

With 9.4km of pipeline and three sewer pump stations, the project was considered a major engineering achievement in its own right, but Mr Patch believes it was the way staff handled the complexities of the project that gave them the winning edge.

The region through which the main was constructed encompassed 19 different landholders, prime koala habitat, and several sites of Aboriginal significance, which meant drawing together the skills of a diverse team and working closely with the community so as not to disturb culturally important areas, harm native wildlife or upset local residents.

In addition, Council’s Information Services team was called on to include the installation of fibre-optic conduit within the pipeline trench to cater for the future roll-out of the National Broadband Network.

The pipeline was built to ensure Lismore has sufficient wastewater capacity to cater for growth over the next 25 years. It was brought forward to enable additional land release fronts to come on stream quicker than planned. The project was made possible by strong teamwork across several Council departments and was completed on time and within budget.


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