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Example of Backflow Device

Lord Mayor delivers backflow valves ahead of schedule

30 January, 2012

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk today announced he was getting on and delivering backflow prevention devices ahead of schedule in New Farm and Milton in a bid to reduce localised flooding.

The Lord Mayor said a combination of rubber duck bill valves and metal flap gates would be installed on drainage outlets in Moray St, New Farm, and Cribb St, Milton, to minimise the amount of water and silt backing up in the local storm water system.

Cr Quirk said these two sites had been clearly indentified as benefitting by hydrology experts during preliminary investigations into the feasibility of backflow devices around Brisbane.

This backflow study was a proactive recommendation from the independent investigation into Council’s handling of January’s devastating flood, with the final backflow report outlining the locations of more backflow devices to be handed down May 2012.

“I’ve said from the start that if it became clear before May that backflow devices would help reduce flooding at certain locations with minimal risk to homes then we would get on and do it and today we’re delivering on that promise,” Cr Quirk said.

“This is now one of the last few actions left in the long list of tasks I set Council officers to undertake to better prepare this city for future flooding, with over 90 per cent of them now addressed.

“However I make no apologies for being thorough in our assessment of the appropriateness of backflow valves across Brisbane given they can cause as much flood damage as they prevent if installed in the wrong location.”

Cr Quirk said these early sites were identified based on the advice of engineering experts and consultation with more than 250 residents who attended Council’s 10 public information sessions. The sessions were spread across areas such as New Farm, Kenmore, Morningside, Hamilton, Milton/Rosalie, the Brisbane CBD and Mount Ommaney and were open to all Brisbane residents.

The backflow devices are attached to the end of stormwater drains, allowing water to exit the pipe but not re-enter. This stops water from washing back into the drain network and out onto local streets.

Cr Quirk said it was expected construction would start on installing one flap gate and two duck bill valves at New Farm in February and two flap gates and two duck bills at Milton in April. It is expected to cost a total of up to $280,000 for the two sites.

“However this is also a timely reminder for residents that Brisbane is built on a flood plain and these devices are intended to reduce potential flooding, not stop it all together,” Cr Quirk.

Cr Quirk said the best way for people to deal with flooding was to be prepared and encouraged residents to clear their drains and gutters, download their free Floodwise Property Reports and flood maps from Council’s website and sign up to Council’s Early Warning Alert system.

“Council is spending $129 million this financial year preparing for future floods in this city, including initiatives such as upgrading stormwater drainage, updating public flood information and implementing the recommendations of our Flood Action Plan,” he said.

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