Infrastructure upgrade


The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) has operated safely within the Sutherland Shire for more than 60 years. As part of our continued safe operations, we are planning to replace an ageing wastewater pipeline.




The replacement pipeline


The upgraded pipeline will run from ANSTO’s Lucas Heights campus, under Crown Land and public open space and David Road, to the Sydney Water sewer inlet at Reeve Place, Barden Ridge.

The pipeline will not travel under private property and will have no significant impact on the environment. Because it will follow existing service corridors, the upgrade should have little to no impact on nearby residents during construction.


As is the present case, all the wastewater travelling in the effluent pipe will comply with Sydney Water requirements.


Why the replacement pipeline is needed

The existing pipeline, which crosses the Woronora River and connects to the sewer network in Engadine, is ageing and has a remaining service life of only a few years. It also currently runs through revegetated bushland terrain and construction of a replacement pipe along the existing route would significantly disturb the natural environment.


Effluent flyer map Pipeline Infrastructure Upgrade













Time frame


The project will commence on Monday 5 February with the expectation construction will take approximately four to six weeks. Whilst construction will be confined to 124R David Road and Reeve Place, it is not intended to affect residential streets. As part of the project, excavation and heavy drilling may result in additional noise between the hours of 7:30am – 3:30pm.


ANSTO is also working with contractors to ensure heavy vehicle movements will be coordinated outside of school zone periods however there may be minor disruptions to traffic flow occasionally.




Community consultation


If you have questions or would like to learn more about this project come along to one of the following public information sessions (if these dates don’t suit you please contact us):


Date: Wednesday 27 July
Time: 3.30 - 5.00pm

Location: Lucas Heights Community School,
Main Hall, Old Illawarra Road,
Lucas Heights

Date: Thursday 28 July
Time: 5.30 - 8.00pm

Location: ANSTO, Discovery Centre,
New Illawarra Road,
Lucas Heights









Frequently asked questions




Why are you building the new pipeline?
ANSTO’s existing pipeline connects to the Engadine sewer system and was installed in the 1950s. It is old, above the ground in places and requires constant maintenance. As is on the record, the old pipeline did temporarily fail some years ago, and while improved maintenance procedures have prevented any recurrence, the permanent solution is to replace the pipeline with a new one.


What is the pipeline for?
The pipeline is for carrying the liquid waste (effluent) from ANSTO into the Sydney Water Sewerage network to the Cronulla sewage treatment plant. The pipe travels from Lucas Heights to Cronulla treatment facilities, carrying grey-water (approx. 65 per cent) such as water from kitchens, showers, and industrial facilities, and wastewater (approx. 35 per cent) such as sewerage from toilets. All material that comes from industrial facilities at ANSTO is collected and tested before it leaves, to make sure that radioactive levels are far beneath even drinking water standards.


Why is the path of the pipeline changing?
The current pipeline goes through the bush, along a creek and across the bed of the Woronora River. This makes maintenance difficult because of the steep inclines and lack of access for vehicles in certain sections, which makes even minor repairs unnecessarily difficult. The new pipeline will be along an access trail which vehicles can use, and will be placed underground along its entire length to improve visual amenity and protect from fire, flood and vandalism. It will have proper access pathways and inspection/maintenance points.


Where does the sewer inlet go?
All effluent travels to the Cronulla Sewage Treatment Plant.





When will you start and finish the work? 
Construction is planned to commence in February 2018 and be completed in approximately four to six weeks.


What disruptions will occur and how will they be minimised?
There will be minimal disruptions, although some traffic control may be required around the parklands. No services or driveways will be affected. Some construction noise and traffic is to be expected.




What impacts could it have on the environment? Is there any risk to the river or parkland?
No. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been completed and shows that the construction will present no significant risk to the environment, and the completed pipeline will in fact reduce the environmental risk compared to the current one.




21. How do you detect damage/cracks in the pipes?
There will be a flowmeter and pressure sensors on the pipeline. If there is any damage to the pipeline it will be detected by either system, meaning that the pipeline can then immediately investigated.


22. What happens if there is an overflow or blockage?
The pipeline would be sealed from the ANSTO discharge point to the Sydney Water connection, and effluent would be directed to a buffer onsite at ANSTO.