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Drain upgrade uses novel anti-blockage technology

In an Australian first, Melbourne Water has used innovative drain technology to complete a major upgrade to prevent flooding at a popular beach strip.

Upgrades were crucial for the safety and function of the drain at Mentone, south-east of Melbourne, after a combination of events, including sand blocking and flooding from heavy rainfall, caused the asset to fail.

The utility used a novel earth-reinforcement technology – a geo-synthetic material called ParaLink – to ensure that the drain doesn't block with sand and other erosion.

Melbourne Water Project Manager Josh Kar said the use of this product, which is from an Italian company, was a first for Australian utilities. 

“It’s great to be leading the way in Australia by using this new reinforcement product, which is the strongest of its kind on the market and has a working life of hundreds of years,” he said.

“What makes it unique is it’s highly resistant to chemicals, micro-organisms, UV and mechanical damage. This makes it a great fit for this drain as it will eliminate corrosion and secure the culverts down to resist the pounding force of the sea water.”

As well as the installation of ParaLink, all four culverts closest to the beach were replaced. This was important as the drain is essential for managing stormwater runoff to alleviate potential flooding issues further up the drainage network.

Melbourne Water’s construction partner Aqua Metro Services has now completed the drain upgrade projects. 

“Our construction partners … [have battled] continually changing tides and bursts of inclement weather,” Kar said. 

“Beach users often stopped to watch the excavators in action, and feedback from the community is that they are pleased and grateful the drain is now operational and the area rehabilitated.”

The project was a collaboration between the City of Kingston, local residents and businesses, Mentone Lifesaving Club and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.