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Pipes set to replace Maroochydore’s rubbish trucks

By Bernadette Gray

The new Maroochydore CBD will host the waste network of the future. When installed, this clever new system can suck household rubbish underground, eliminating wheelie bins and garbage trucks.

This $21 million dollar underground rubbish system is an Australian first. Similar schemes are already in place in Stockholm, Seoul, Barcelona, London, Singapore and Beijing.The system will see all household and commercial waste be “sucked” underground at 70 kilometres an hour through a 6.5-kilometre underground pipe network.

The Sunshine Coast council is progressively redeveloping a 53-hectare section of Maroochydore,s central business district into a $350 million CBD called SunCentral to let underground facilities for the new Maroochydore city be installed. 

Employees from Swedish firm Envac, which won the contract in September 2016, flew from their South Korean plant to meet their Australian counterparts and oversee the arrival of the waste network.

Envac Australia managing director Tony Kutra said the first shipment of the “Y-sections, bends and some straight sections” arrived in 20 shipping containers in Brisbane from South Korea.

“We know how important the first project in any country is,” Mr Kutra said.

“All the feedback we get from residents and visitors to an area (where a system has been introduced) is that they no longer have waste trucks coming around, reversing signals and all of those truck movements associated with the collection of waste,” he said.

Waste project manager Kate Broadbent said the pipes would begin to go underground in about six weeks after checks were done.

SunCentral Maroochydore CEO John Knaggs said public areas would have their own waste inlets, meaning new city streets would not see overflowing wheelie bins.

“Envac’s technology can be installed because we are building on an undeveloped, greenfield site within an existing urban area – and that has many other benefits,” Mr Knaggs said.

“For instance, we are also building a high-speed fibre optic network into the city’s very foundations,” he said.

“That will allow us to provide ‘smart’ signage, free Wi-Fi hotspots, real-time transport information, movement sensors and smart lighting.”

Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson said in practical terms it meant reduced cleaning costs – over time – less noise and congestion and fewer odours from waste sitting in wheelie bins.

How it works

  • Each building will have a series of three waste inlets;
  • Waste will be separated out into organic; recyclable and general wastes;
  • Waste dropped into each inlet is stored in a sealed compartment below ground;
  • The vacuum pump is “activated” twice a day to draw waste from underground containers to a central facility;
  • The waste is stored in sealed compactors;
  • The waste is finally taken to landfill and recycling agencies by council’s contractor.
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