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Beechworth sewer improvement

Beechworth sewer improvement

We're working towards changing parts of Beechworth's sewer system to help resolve the town's sewer capacity issues during heavy rain events.

Project overview

North East Water is continuing to work towards changing parts of Beechworth’s sewer system to prevent the sewer overflowing into the Historic Park during heavy rain events.

Beechworth’s unique granite base limits the soil absorption of rainfall, and during heavy rain events this results in major stormwater flows into the sewer. These heavy flows then cause the sewer system to spill over at an outlet structure on Church Street, resulting in an unacceptable impact on the Beechworth Historic Park. It has been determined that increasing the capacity of the pipe that transfers the sewage to the treatment plant will both protect the environment and allow for future growth of the town.

Since late 2016, we have investigated and considered several options. Following a thorough assessment process and extensive community engagement, it has been determined that a larger sewer transfer pipe will be constructed and will run from the existing outlet in Church Street, along Last Street, Sydney Road and Old Chiltern Road then through to the wastewater treatment plant near Woolshed.

View original route*

( * does not include longbore route under Beechworth Historic Park)

Current status

Church Street pump station upgrade & Installation of 4.3 km sewer transfer main

We awarded the final design and construction to Longford Civil in January 2021. Since then, design and construction methods have been refined in consultation with specialised subcontractors, designers, and environmental and heritage consultants.

An alignment change will see a more direct route 'underneath' the Beechworth Historic Park. A Horizontal Directional Drilling method will be used to ‘long bore’ from the sewage treatment plant on McFeeters Road through to Old Chiltern Road.

Construction activities are expected to start in November or December 2021. This is dependent on receiving final approvals. We will provide further information to residents along the entire construction route before construction starts. The project is expected to take 12 months to complete.

Sewage treatment plant upgrade

Following the release of a design and construct tender in late 2020, it was determined that the project would cost substantially more than the expected capital cost of the upgrade. We have decided that the upgrade will not be completed in its current form, however it will be included in our ongoing master planning.

In the interim, temporary works will be completed at the treatment plant to incorporate the new sewage transfer main and there will also be some minor lagoon refurbishment to address odour concerns.

What to expect when construction begins

Like any major project, there will some impacts on the community associated with the construction work. This includes:

  • Changed traffic conditions – access along some roads (including Church St, Last St, Sydney Rd, and Old Chiltern Rd) may be affected through partial closures and speed restrictions. Access for businesses and residences will be facilitated by the contractor.
  • Heavy vehicles – you may see heavy vehicles and construction related vehicles along the construction route and on local roads.
  • Vegetation – some vegetation along the route will be trimmed or removed (see more detail here).
  • Materials – at times there will be materials and equipment stored in areas along the construction route.
  • Noise – you may notice noise from construction activities during certain periods.

Long bore under historic park

A specialised contractor has been engaged to bore entirely underneath the Beechworth Historic Park using Horizontal Directional Drilling technology.

The ‘long bore’ will commence at the base of the hill at the existing sewage treatment plant and emerge at Old Chiltern Road. It will allow for a continuous segment of pipe underground, with ground works only occurring at either end.

This change in alignment and construction method is a major win for the environment and is significantly safer for construction crews within this section of the project.

Boring and open trench construction methods

Whilst installation of pipelines is ideally done using open-trenching methods, a mix of boring and open-trenching will be utilised to install the pipeline along its route.

The use of boring in the project has been selected in certain areas; guided by one of four reasons:

  • Presence of hard rock – due to the nature of the shallow granite in Beechworth, it will be difficult to open-trench if sections of the route is unrippable or consists of large granite outcrops.
  • Native Vegetation – the project has incorporated the use of boring in selected priority areas to avoid and minimise impacts on tree protection zones, high quality native vegetation and any threatened flora populations if detected.
  • Heritage – certain areas and trees were identified during the heritage assessment as requiring protection during construction. Boring will be used as the construction method in some of these areas where practical.
  • Roadways – the majority of roadways will be bored to reduce access disruption.
View the expected areas where boring and open trenching will be used along the route via the button below.

Vegetation protection & removal

The project has been carefully designed to avoid as many trees and shrubs where possible. However, some vegetation will need to be removed during construction. We may also need to trim tree branches if they are located in close proximity to work areas.

We have worked closely with Biosis (our environmental consultants), Parks Victoria, DELWP and Indigo Shire to minimise the amount of vegetation removal.

No large trees will be directly felled, but some will be counted as a loss because of construction activities occurring within their root zone.

All other trees to be removed have been identified and assessed by an independent ecologist. Our construction environmental management plan shows how we will ensure vegetation identified for removal and retention is managed appropriately.

A pre-clearance survey is also planned before the start of construction to ensure no threatened flora is present within the construction footprint. After the works have been completed, disturbed areas will be restored in accordance with an Environmental Management Plan approved by Parks Victoria, DELWP and Indigo Shire.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click the button below to read the FAQ's about the Beechworth Sewer Improvement project.


More information

You can contact North East Water Project Manager Nicole O’Keefe on 1300 361 622 or via email on

Project documents

Click here