The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) secured Robyn Johnson (through a previous employer) to conduct an environmental impact assessment for a proposed 2km underground wastewater reticulation pipeline from the Lucas Heights Nuclear facility to an existing sewer rising main adjacent to a residential development.
It was vital to ensure the environmental assessment was scientific, thorough and independent in assessing the potential risks, impacts and benefits involved.
Working with team of collaborating consultants, Robyn was able to identify environmental, social, approval and operational constraints, allowing issues identified through field survey, desktop review and a pre-application meeting with Sutherland Shire Council to be factored into the location and design of the pipeline.
A Statement of Environmental Effects (SEE) was prepared for development application with Council, and a separate assessment prepared to meet requirements for Commonwealth Agencies operating on Commonwealth owned land.
Linear infrastructure presents complex challenges for access and consultation with multiple landowners. Early capture of issues, permissions and approvals are essential while project designs are still flexible.
Set to replace an existing higher risk waste-water pipeline the proposed route of the sewer reticulation pipeline minimised environmental and social impacts, with limited vegetation clearing and alignment through previously disturbed areas of unformed road. The development application was approved in August 2017.
The existing pipeline is difficult to maintain located in the steep topography of the Woronora River Valley.
Once the new underground pipeline project is completed there will be safety, environmental, social and economic benefits for the community and nuclear facility, including reduced risk, more accessible maintenance and reduced environmental impacts.