Port Macquarie-Hastings Council workers have rolled out the first sections of a 2.5km pipeline in Port Macquarie to start drenching a fire that has burned for more than five weeks.
Work began early on Tuesday, August 27, to dig trenches and lay out the reclaimed water pipeline designed to douse the Lindfield Park Road fire near Port Macquarie airport.
The pipe is planned to direct 30 megalitres of water over 50 days on to the fire zone and drown the peat burning underground.
A spokesman for Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams said the State Government would fund theinstallation of the pipe.
Sections already run from the airport entrance and along a western electrified boundary fence towards the fire ground. The layflat piping was purchased from plumbing supply store, Cadia Group in Orange.
Cadia office manager Raine Whittle said the pipe could be used across many industries, not just fire control.
"We have supplied layflat hose primarily used for fire control," said Ms Whittle.
"It gets used fairly widely for anywhere that somebody needs to cover a reasonable distance without the storage or transfer of large volumes of hose.
"It copes with quite high pressure water and can be used in temporary irrigation and fire control."
The bushfire started more than a month ago on July 19 and has been controlled by the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and Fire and Rescue NSW teams.
NSW RFS district operational officer Steve Farrell said the pipeline would specifically target burning peat.
"The water line will basically follow the airport fence, come out the farthest corner and then we will follow a cleared path of about 60m," he said.
"That point is where soil ecologists have determined will give us the best entry point for the water and it should make its way through the area."
The reclaimed water will be transferred from water treatment plant's Morton Street reservoir.
Reclaimed water originates from the Lake Road-Ocean Drive treated wastewater ponds. The wastewater runs through a vigorous process of high level treatment to produce reclaimed water which is odourless, free from viruses, bacteria and other pathogens and conforms to national and NSW guidelines for the production and use of reclaimed water.
"We are currently patrolling the whole fire perimeter and focusing on the weak points or hot spots on the northern and southern ends," said Mr Farrell.
"We are also providing fire protection for Department of Planning, Industry and Environment scientists who are installing piezometres.
"These are sensors that are inserted into the ground and measure the hydration levels. This will give us feedback as we are applying water."
Surface fires flared by strong winds have previously been water-bombed by the Large Air Tanker (LAT) Marie Bashir.
Department of Primary Industries, NSW Health, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and the Environmental Protection Agency have been involved in the planning process with NSW RFS.
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