Environmentally Responsible Operations
EastLink’s construction created a linear parkland of 500 hectares – a total space greater than the parklands in Melbourne’s CBD. Around 60 wetlands were established alongside EastLink to provide natural treatment for road run-off and also to provide habitats for local wildlife. In addition, a number of creeks and waterways were cleaned up and reinvigorated as part of the works.
ConnectEast is committed to operating all aspects of EastLink in an environmentally responsible way, demonstrated by the Group’s decision to build twin 1.6 kilometre tunnels under the environmentally sensitive Mullum Mullum Valley in Donvale. This decision has preserved a stretch of significant natural bushland and this area has now been adopted as a State Park.
Air quality has been continuously monitored around the two tunnels and at the roadside. Results for the first 12 months demonstrated we are comfortably meeting the conditions of the licence issued by the Environmental Protection Authority to cover tunnel emissions and State Environment Protection Policy with regard to ambient air quality.
Click here to view the daily air quality results.
Click here to view the quarterly air quality reports.
Energy and Emissions
ConnectEast has completed an energy and emissions audit, including the baseline measurement of electricity and gas used to operate EastLink, and the fuel used by EastLink service vehicles. These are being used to identify opportunities for improvement to reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Despite the extreme weather conditions in Melbourne, the overall plant loss for EastLink in the first year was less than 1%.
Initiatives taken to address the weather conditions include:
- Over 3 millions litres of reclaimed water used to ensure survival of stressed or vulnerable plant species
- Stringent weed control throughout the road corridor has significantly reduced weed competition pressures on young plants
- Three hectares of grass was reseeded following extreme summer temperatures.
- A total of 2ha of grass and garden bed were burnt at the Dandenong Southern Bypass interchange in the Black Saturday bushfires. Repairs works were completed in July with the replanting of 10,000 tube stock when soil moisture levels were sufficient following winter rain.
Post-opening measurements have shown that the noise levels for local residents generated by traffic on EastLink are well within the contractual requirements established by the Victorian Government.
ConnectEast has measured a baseline of the waste generated during the operation of EastLink and maintenance of the landscape.
A comprehensive program of water quality monitoring covers the operation of the tunnel wastewater system, the gradual recharge of groundwater surrounding the tunnels and the quality of waters in our constructed wetlands and the surrounding waterways. Results so far demonstrate our water treatment systems are coping well with run-off and that discharging water is not compromising the quality of the urban waterways that cross EastLink.
Captured rainwater run-off from three buildings into new tanks with a combined capacity of 105,000 litres. This rainwater is used to assist with water usage requirements including landscape maintenance.
Close monitoring of the 58 ponded wetlands that receive road surface run-off in light of the stress caused to some wetland plants due to the extreme weather conditions shows that most plants survived this seasonal stress and will continue to provide sufficient filtration of the run-off water.