Trench warfare: residents angry with Macquarie pipeline construction mess

CLEAN UP YOUR DIRTY WORK: Ophir Road resident John Spicer is concerned about the erosion of loose topsoil after the installation of the Macquarie pipeline. 
Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI.0513dcpipeline2

CLEAN UP YOUR DIRTY WORK: Ophir Road resident John Spicer is concerned about the erosion of loose topsoil after the installation of the Macquarie pipeline. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI.0513dcpipeline2

OPHIR Road residents have discovered rain and the newly-installed Macquarie pipeline do not mix after having their top soil wiped out during April's wet weather.

John and Learne Spicer are concerned about the condition their 100-acre property will be left in once the pipeline is complete - their section of the pipeline was installed in March and April, but rain in early April washed the fine topsoil away, leaving the pipe visible in locations.

"Leeds brought the grader out, gathered all the topsoil and covered it back over, but there's no grass there now," Mr Spicer said.

Small sand bags were laid across the width of the pipeline channel, but Mr Spicer said it was "a joke and an absolute waste of time".

"I've asked a few times how they're going to fix this - they've told us it will be fixed and I've said, impress me," he said.

"You can't put seeds there because they're not going to grow - they'll be washed away.

The problem has been made worse by a blocked culvert on the road reserve outside their property.

Mrs Spicer said the property had always been a watercourse and the couple had used a $30,000 government grant in recent years to build concrete dams, flumes and natural culverts to divert the water off the property and into Summer Hill Creek.

"If we get a heavy downpour, the sediment will wash down the creek and the [Environmental Protection Authority] is concerned about what's going into the creek system," she said.

STORY: ROAD CLOSURES AS PIPELINE PROCEEDS WITH CAUTION

Orange City Council spokesman Allan Reeder said staff from Leed Engineering and Construction and the council had met with Mr Spicer and the temporary soil measure was discussed.

He said each property had a construction and rehabilitation management plan produced before the pipeline was built.

"On some sections of the route, different crews later go back and work on completing scour valves, which involves further excavation - when the pipeline is operating, scour values are used to flush the pipeline," he said.

"The timing of rehabilitation work at particular sites in the coming months will depend on other stages of construction being completed, but landowners will be notified in advance."

Mr Reeder said rehabilitation would not come at the landowner's expense.

An EPA spokeswoman did not outline any concerns on Ophir Road, but said it had responded to a call concerning the state of the construction areas near drainage and creek lines along Long Point Road.

"The EPA observed shortcomings with the sediment and erosion controls that had been put in place to protect the waterways in the public areas along Long Point Road," she said.

"The EPA has directed Orange City Council to require the contractor to improve the sediment and erosion controls by May 13."

She said the authority would conduct another inspection this week, however there was no evidence of soil pollution in the waterways so far.

Anyone holding further information should provide it to the EPA via environment line 131 555.

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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