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Drainage works put to the test

14 Dec 2017

Drainage works put to the test Image

The City of Melbourne’s efforts to drain “Lake Whiteman” were put to the ultimate test last month after a massive downpour struck Melbourne on November 18.

While the first days of December were touted for a storm of the century to hit Melbourme, the weather failed to live up to expectations. Instead, it was November’s downpour that saw flooding of many Southbank streets.

Council completed upgrades to the drainage system in Whiteman St in October following years of ongoing flooding issues in the low-lying area.

Council spokesperson Brodie Botts told Southbank Local News that the costs of the works, which included the installation of a new drain crossing the Port Junction tram tracks, totaled $1.9 million.

And the upgrades were well and truly put through their paces on Saturday, November 18 when heavy rains hit Melbourne.

Whiteman St resident Lynne Lumsden said, that while the downpour still caused flooding, “Lake Whiteman did not re-emerge!”

“The drainage works seem to have led to faster dispersion times, but the immediate effect after a heavy downpour is still disruptive,” she said.

“On Saturday the entry to Vue Grande was underwater as far as the first step. Concierge staff had to keep mopping up every few minutes even after the water had receded, because the mat was sodden and people tramped wet feet into the lobby.”

“Obviously council needs to do further work on drainage in the area.”

The council spokesperson said significant works had been carried out on the drainage system in the area and more works would be carried out over the next three months.

The scope of works included:

  • Installation of a temporary drain in Whiteman St in August 2016 to help reduce localised flooding in the area as a result of heavy downpours;
  • Installation of a new drain crossing the Port Junction tram tracks in October 2017 connecting the existing drain in Whiteman St to the drain across Normanby Rd to help improve the flow of water from Whiteman St; and
  • Cleaning of sediment blockages in the existing drain from Normanby Rd to the Yarra River to further improve water flow.

In addition, the design of a new pump station, pollution filters, associated drains and pits at Melbourne Convention Centre adjacent to the Spencer Street Bridge are currently underway.

With much of the drainage system sitting beneath the Yarra River, Mr Bott said these additional works would allow the upstream network to drain when river levels were high.

He said that council was also currently in discussions with CitiPower and the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) to get power to the new pump from the existing substation in the convention centre.

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