SFPJV (a joint venture of Abergeldie, Downer and Stantec) on behalf of Melbourne Water (MW) have recently completed Land Rehabilitation as an early works package for the currently being constructed solar farm located near the Eastern Treatment Plant (ETP).

The works involved site cut to fill, import and placement of clay rich bio-solids and mudstone capping materials over a 42ha site. SFPJV in partnership with Gearon Civil delivered the project under budget and obtained project completion (Stage 1) and subsequent stages, hand over (Stage 2) and end of defects liability period (Stage 3), all before schedule.

Scope of Work

The main requirements were

  • Complete bulk earthworks including drainage providing hardstand area for the future solar farm across 42ha.
  • Management of existing pipeline from construction loading.
  • Use of clay rich bio-solids as fill material, as use of ‘waste’ from the sewage treatment process and provide space for future stockpiles.

The significant challenges associated with this project included using clay rich bio-solids which have lower density compared to that used on previous projects, working in winter months and the coordination and management of truck and plant movements.

Innovation & Complexity

Whilst the project was primarily an earthworks project, which at first look does not appear to have much technical complexity, the performance criteria from use of bio-solids to the nature of the site, resulted in a number of challenges and subsequent achievements by the project team.

SFPJV successfully implemented a number of innovations for the project to meet the key parameters set by the client. These additional requirements were only identified during the delivery phase of the project. The following are some of the key innovations carried out by the project team:

  • Use of Clay Rich Bio-solids – over 160,000 tonnes of clay rich geotechnical grade bio-solids loaded, placed and compacted as imported fill.
  • Dust Suppression – application of  Vital Bon-Matt Stonewall (IGD) at a 10% dilution (1:9 ratio).
  • Protection of South East Outfall Pipe – completion of condition assessment of pipeline, methodology to confirm impact of loading from plant and its associated vibration, vibration monitoring and subsequently engineered crossovers.
  • Optimisation of Cut-Fill and Flood Modelling – the existing surface level, proposed design and flood levels were modelled in 3D in order to identify any efficiencies in the project.

Project Outcomes

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No recordable incidents due to careful management of numerous high risk activities.

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All non-conforming products and services identified and corrected immediately.

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Use of Bio-solids as Geotechnical Fill (EPA, 2009) was used as a guiding document to achieve a safe and sustainable approach to installing and managing working with bio-solids.


Approved traffic management plans were put in place in conjunction with relevant authorities. Social media and community bulletins were published to ensure neighbouring properties and the broader community and stakeholders were kept informed of planning and construction progress.

Key Staff Involved

Andrew James
Project Manager

Simon Crowther

Jay Burgess
Design Lead

Oscar Szanto

Ravi Prakash
Project Engineer

Bronwyn Pearce
Community Engagement

Matthew Piazzese
Site Engineer

Project delivered on behalf of Melbourne Water