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Why are we building a sand recycling pipeline and where will it be located?

A sand recycling pipeline from Semaphore to West Beach will provide an efficient means to recycle sand. This will provide a long term solution to keeping sand on our most exposed and vulnerable beaches.

Pipelines provide more flexibility in managing our beaches – with multiple intake and discharge locations allowing sand to be picked up where there is an accumulation and delivered to locations most at need across the beach system. We have seen this success with the Glenelg to Kingston Park pipeline, which currently pumps approximately 100,000 cubic metres of sand each year.

Another major benefit of the pipeline is reducing the reliance on trucks to move sand, making it safer for the community, as well as reducing noise, congestion and the impact of trucks on roads.

The exact location of the pipeline and how it will be constructed will be outlined within a development application to the State Commission Assessment Panel. This can be viewed on the Plan SA Portal. Submissions close on Monday 6 December 2021.

Semaphore to West Beach pipeline

This development application is informed by ongoing consultation and preliminary feedback on the concept design by the project Community Reference Group, and range of investigations such as flora and fauna assessments, cultural heritage surveys, noise assessments and other environmental analyses.

The department is holding community information sessions regarding the development application and beach works in November 2021. Find out more

Find out more about the existing sand recycling pipeline from Glenelg to Kingston Park and how it works, including technical information.

When will the pipeline be built?

  • Construction is planned to commence in 2022 after the design and approval phase.
  • The pipeline is expected to be operational by mid-2023.

What impacts will building the pipeline have on our beaches and dunes?

The impacts will be minimised as much as possible during construction. The community will be kept informed and have opportunities to find out more in the coming months.

There will be short-term impacts from construction. Disturbance of existing dunes and ecological communities will be avoided or minimised.

The works will recycle sand each year to maintain critical dune buffers. This provides the base for dune restoration for the foreshore at West Beach and Henley Beach South in particular. The government will partner with the community and councils to revegetate the foreshore and develop stable sand dunes with vibrant ecological communities.

Don’t we already have a pipeline?

Adelaide’s two existing underground sand recycling pipelines – Glenelg to Kingston Park and Torrens Outlet to the West Beach dunes - were completed in 2013 to transfer a slurry of sand and seawater from beaches where sand is building up, to the eroding beaches further south.

The pipeline from Glenelg to Kingston Park currently pumps approximately 100,000 cubic metres of sand successfully each year.

This project will extend the pipeline from the northern beaches, to connect to the existing infrastructure at Torrens Outlet to the West Beach dunes.

Did you know?
Pipelines are used successfully in many places around the world to keep beaches replenished, including on the Gold Coast.

Once the pipeline is built, how much sand will be sourced from Semaphore and other beaches such as Grange?

Once operational, the sand recycling pipeline will be used to source sand from areas where sand is built up to replenish areas that are eroding further south.

  • Natural sand movement northwards out of West Beach due to littoral drift averages approximately 100,000 cubic metres each year, and this will need to be matched by replenishment using the sand pumping system.
  • The Semaphore South breakwater, designed to trap sand for replenishment, will continue to be a primary source of sand.
  • The volumes of sand eroding and building up along the beach system will vary from year to year, depending on the prevailing weather conditions and storms and this will influence the amount of sand which needs to be collected for replenishment.
  • Analysis of beach survey data collected each year by the department will provide information on where sand is building up or eroding and inform how much sand is moved using the sand pumping system and how much sand is moved from collection locations.

What community engagement is occurring?

The department has been working closely with a community reference group on the project.

Project information was mailed to local residents in March 2021, July 2021 and November 2021. A number of pop up events and engagement via the coastal caravan was undertaken throughout the year at locations within the project zone (West Beach to Largs Bay).

A public notification period commenced in early November 2021 after the development application was lodged, during which time members of of the public were able to make a formal submission through the Plan SA Portal. Submissions closed on 6 December 2021.

As required by Plan SA as part of the development application process, signage was erected at key locations along the project area (from Semaphore South to West Beach) and an advertisement was placed in the Advertiser newspaper. In addition, the department hosted six community information sessions in November 2021. These were promoted via media release, social media, flyer drops to local businesses and residents, and the coast e-newsletter. Door knocking and meetings with residents in high impact areas have also been undertaken, and will continue in early 2022.

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