Revitalising Molonglo Ponds


18 July July

Transforming this former sewage sludge pond into an urban open space will enhance the sustainability of the local area and benefit the ACT community in the long-term.

Infrastructure Finance and Capital Works (IFCW) on behalf of the Parks and Conservation Service (PCS) of the Environment Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate engaged WSP to undertake site investigations and civil design including, environmental and engineering services in relation to the remediation and restoration of the Molonglo Former Sewage Sludge Ponds.

The ultimate objective for the area, facilitated through this project, is to take a contaminated site and turn it into something with a tangible benefit for the community that will improve the quality of life for the residents of the ACT and its visitors. The remediation, rehabilitation and ecological restoration of the Former Molonglo Sewage Sludge Ponds and adjoining reserve land will boost the environment and increase the number of native habitats for ACT native species.

With the central area of Canberra becoming an innovation precinct, and the city attracting an increasing number of people, from interstate and internationally, there is an urban expansion taking place in both the city and the territory. With the population predicted to climb from 356,000 at present to almost double at 589,000 by 2041, the need to enhance recreational spaces, parklands and lakes has never been greater.

Alex Moody, Senior Environmental Scientist, says, “The rehabilitation of Molonglo Ponds will assist in the sustainability, prosperity and richness that exists in ACT. This project will not only help build a new suburb, but there is a strong focus on the ecological components that exist, and we are helping threatened species from becoming endangered.”

There is great collaboration between various business sectors to help with the success of this project. From WSP’s Transport Advisory team, through to our Environmental groups, we are also working in collaboration with the landscape architect Oxigen, engaged by PCS, to create a green space for the community to interact with.

“It is through the collaboration with government, the community and other key stakeholders that the ecological and environmental outcomes can be realised,” adds Alex. “There is a strong focus on developing the flora and fauna as well as respecting and acknowledging the importance of the Indigenous history of the area. From being a site that was uninhabitable to designing a future community where people can interact with the natural environment and swim in the river, the recovery and rehabilitation of Molonglo will have a huge impact.”

Once the project is complete, Molonglo Ponds will cease to exist. Instead, the site will be reborn as the Molonglo Special Purpose Reserve becoming an additional urban open space for the community, which will facilitate a more intimate and direct connection to the unique flora and fauna of the ACT.

“Overall, the remediation of the ponds, will transform a legacy contaminated site, which has the potential to pose a risk to human health and the environment, into an asset for the local population, and threatened species unique to the territory.”




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