Heavy storms in the Illawarra region south of Sydney have caused damage to infrastructure and property over recent months. Regions at the base of the escarpment running parallel to the coastline behind the populated areas around Wollongong have been particularly susceptible.

Occasionally in such situations a "good news" story emerges.

In the suburb of Balgownie flood waters rushing down a steep, rock strewn gully caused serious erosion of its banks. Concerns were raised for a road at the head of the gully, as well as nearby houses.

Also causing concern was a 225mm diameter vitrified clay sewer main buried in the banks of the gully. About 12 months previously contractor Interflow Pty Limited had structurally lined the main with Rib Loc Expanda Pipe.

After the storms had cleared, Sydney Water engineers found that a section of the sewer main had been exposed as the bank eroded. On clearing the debris they found that, while the vitrified clay pipe had been smashed and the pieces washed away in the flood, the Expanda Pipe liner was intact and the pipeline was still water tight.

The flood, which had unleashed sufficient force to wash away a large section of the gully, move large rocks, uproot trees and smash the virtified clay pipe, had left the Expanda Pipe spirally wound liner completely undamaged.

They found the section of Expanda Pipe operating as an above ground pipeline, completely unsupported over a length of approximately 2.5 metres. Large rocks, fallen trees and pieces of broken vitrified clay pipe surrounded it.

Laboratory testing can be used to confirm that Expanda Pipe provides a strong structural liner. The storms at Wollongong have demonstrated that it is also remarkably capable of withstanding the destructive forces of nature.

Rib Loc pipe rehabilitation systems are installed in Australia by:Interflow Pty Limited

62 Mandoon Rd, Girraween NSW, Phone: (02) 9361 2444 Fax: 61 2 9636 5475

Last Updated on 23 April 2000