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Long Term Recycled Water Release Plan

As our population increases so does the amount of excess recycled water the city generates. Our existing infrastructure capacity is nearing its limit. To cater for future growth requirements we have developed a sound and affordable long-term solution for the city’s excess recycled water.

Stage one consists of upgrades and augmentation of the pipelines at the existing Seaway release locations. This will ensure the current system is operating efficiently before proceeding to a staged off-shore solution.

Stage 1 works

The project will involve two of the longest marine pipeline crossings of their type in Australia. With a project value of $70 million, upgrading this important infrastructure will allow for the future growth of our city and increase the capacity of the existing network, which was first built over 30 years ago.

  • recycled water pump station upgrades at the Coombabah Sewage Treatment Plant and the Benowa Re-Pump Facility
  • upgraded release points at the Seaway to allow for more efficient release
  • new pipelines across the Nerang River and Broadwater to allow for increased volume of excess recycled water to be released at the Seaway
  • upgraded pipelines on South Stradbroke Island.
Click to enlarge A map image showing the proposed pipeline extension from Quota Park to O'Connell Park

Proposed pipeline extension

Proposed pipeline extension from Quota Park to O'Connell Park

A recent review has identified an opportunity to bring forward the most difficult section of the pipeline (from Quota Park to O'Connell Park) into this year. This will result in significant cost savings for the City and, importantly, avoid future disturbance to Quota Park.

However, this will require the continued occupation of Quota Park plus the establishment of a worksite within O'Connell Park. Our continued occupation of Quota Park will be extended from mid-2020 to early 2021 in order to commence tunnelling (using the existing entry shaft), to a depth of 20 metres westwards to O'Connell Park.

In addition, the worksite in O'Connell Park will be in place from February 2020 to early 2021. Works in O'Connell Park will involve the construction of a shaft to retrieve the tunnel boring machine and then installing a pipeline by trenching through O'Connell Park to an existing pipeline in Ocean Street.

The City appreciates your patience as we strive to be prudent and efficient with ratepayers' money whilst delivering this essential infrastructure.

Click to enlarge A map image showing the proposed recycled water pipeline crossing the Broadwater

Broadwater crossing proposal

Proposed Broadwater crossing

Construction on the Broadwater crossing began in November 2018 (see map image below), with work expected to take 14 months to complete.

Construction work will involve modern tunnelling techniques, requiring large vertical shafts of up to nine metres in diameter and around 20 metres deep to be constructed at either end of the crossing - at Quota Park, Biggera Waters and on South Stradbroke Island. A 2.5-metre diameter tunnel boring machine will be utilised to connect the two shafts with minimal disruption to the Broadwater and the environment.

A map image showing the proposed recycled water pipeline crossing the Nerang River

Nerang River crossing proposal

Proposed Nerang River crossing

Work on the Nerang River crossing also started in November 2018 (refer to map image above), and will take nine months to complete.

The upgrade will include installation by directional drilling of a 1.2-metre diameter pipe under the Nerang River with entry points at Winchester Street, Southport and Waterways Drive, Main Beach. Similarly, this construction technique will cause minimal disruption to the use of the Nerang River and the surrounding environment.

Construction activities will occur over extended periods. They will cause disruption to access and use of areas which we will attempt to keep to a minimum. However, given their importance to the city’s recycled water network, it is critical for the construction of this essential infrastructure to connect into existing pipelines, efficiently and cost effectively.

We encourage you to sign up to our project e-newsletter to receive updates.

Public impact

It is expected that the work will produce construction noise, dust and will impact local traffic conditions. Partial road closures may be necessary and motorists and pedestrians are urged to follow the direction of traffic control officers on site.

Hours of work: Standard site hours are between 6.30am to 6.30pm Monday to Saturday, including some public holidays.

We will be commencing works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from early September at Quota Park, Biggera Waters.

The schedule of works is a phased approach and will begin as intermittent and as we progress over the next month, the work will evolve into continuous 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Night works may also be required for the Nerang River crossing. Directly impacted residents will be notified prior to any night works occurring.

Areas affected

Suburb Division Streets affected Project duration Reference
Biggera Waters 4 Marine Parade November 2018 to mid-2021 71784173
Main Beach 7 Waterways Drive November 2018 to October 2020 71784173
Southport 7 Winchester Street November 2018 to August 2020 71784173

More updates on the future stages will be provided as the program progresses.

Fast facts

  • Excess recycled water released at the Seaway is released on an outgoing tide to control the nutrient load. The pipelines that form the existing recycled water release system were constructed in the mid-1980s at the same time as construction of the Seaway walls.
  • The City of Gold Coast is one of the largest re-users of recycled water amongst urban water utilities.
  • Commercial customers can apply to substitute drinking water for recycled water for a list of approved purposes.
  • The Gold Coast’s four sewage treatment plants are located in Pimpama, Coombabah, Merrimac and Elanora. Up to 20 per cent of the recycled water produced by the city is used by our non-residential customers for approved uses.
  • Currently, 46 Gold Coast businesses access recycled water to sustainably reduce their running costs.
  • After a wet weather event, our sewage treatment plants work to capacity to process the excess water entering the sewerage network via increased inflows and illegal stormwater connections.
  • Recycled water is scientifically tested numerous times for contaminants during the treatment process before being safely released.


Learn how our non-residential customers are accessing recycled water for approved uses and how we are catering for population growth by improving the existing release system before moving to an offshore solution.

This bi-monthly eNewsletter aims to provide insight into the range of environmental studies that were completed prior to the design of the system upgrade and will feature interviews with a series of key stakeholders and panel of experts.

Subscribe to our eNewsletter

Stay informed about the City’s long-term plan for managing excess recycled water.

View our Privacy notice

The Quota Park Improvement Plan will establish the arrangement and use of spaces and embellishments following the Long Term Recycled Water Release project in the northern precinct of the park.

For any enquiries related to the Long Term Recycled Water Release Plan please email us at

Related information

Jump to key information
  • Why is this construction work taking place?

    The City of Gold Coast is currently implementing its Long Term Recycled Water Release Plan to upgrade and expand the City’s existing recycled water release infrastructure, to prepare for the projected population growth of the Gold Coast.

    The project will involve two of the longest marine pipeline crossings of their type in Australia.

    The crossing of the Broadwater will involve the use of a 2.5 metre diameter tunnel boring machine to tunnel through the bed of the Broadwater from Quota Park, Biggera Waters to South Stradbroke Island.

    The crossing of the Nerang River involves directional drilling of a 1.2 metre diameter pipe under the Nerang River from Winchester Street, Southport to Waterways Drive, Main Beach.

  • Why do you need to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

    It is essential that this type of tunnel boring machine operates continuously to avoid the machine losing its forward momentum and stopping underground.

  • Do you have a permit to carry out these works 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

    Yes, all approvals have been obtained for the works.

  • What measures have been taken to reduce the impact on residents during night shifts?

    Noise mitigation measures will include:

    • installing acoustic curtains/blankets, where appropriate
    • connecting to an Energex substation to drive the tunnel boring machine and provide power and lights, avoiding the use of diesel generators
    • noise monitoring carried out to ensure compliance with requirements
    • reducing vehicle movements and deliveries during night work
    • using the latest generation of self-contained separation equipment which creates significantly less noise than traditional separation equipment
    • using baffle-type silencers and noise reducing covers on ventilation fans
    • reducing the use of reversing alarms on vehicles and equipment, where possible
    • launching the tunnel boring machine from the bottom of the 20 meter deep shaft that has been positioned as far away from residential properties as possible.
  • When will the 24 hours a day, seven days a week works start and finish?

    The continuous 24/7 works are planned to commence in September 2019 and should be completed by the end of 2019, weather and construction conditions pending.

  • Will the tunnelling work be noisy and disruptive?

    The tunnelling will take place underground. The works within Quota Park will be less noisy for the local community than some of the recent works.

  • Will these works also be carried out on public holidays?

    Yes, once commenced, works will occur over weekends and public holidays.

  • Why can’t these works be carried out at another location?

    The works must occur at Quota Park to connect to the existing infrastructure that has been in place since the mid-1980s.

  • What machinery will be used during these works?

    The machinery and equipment used during this work will include:

    • a tunnel boring machine
    • a gantry crane over the entry shaft to lift and lower the tunnel segments
    • a fully enclosed separation plant which separates soil and water that is removed during the tunnelling process
    • trucks and tankers to remove soil and water
    • smaller cranes and excavators to move equipment and pipes on site
    • light vehicles
    • hand tools.
  • Are the noise levels going to be monitored during the 24/7 works?

    Yes, noise monitoring equipment will be operating during these works.

  • The noise is concerning me, who should I talk to?

    Please call 1300 000 928 or email with any concerns or enquiries.

  • Will these tunnelling works affect the structure of the building I live in?

    The tunnelling work will have no impact on adjacent buildings.

  • Will this construction work cause impacts to the environment?

    We take environmental protection very seriously and throughout the planning and construction of this project, strict environmental requirements have been met.

    There is an approved Construction Environment Management Plan in place that ensures that all aspects of environmental management and protection are adhered to.


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