Ben Anderson Barrage – Sunwater

Queensland Government Owned Corporations – Sunwater approached us to find an alternate design and protective coating system to improve the design life of the shutters on the Ben Anderson Barrage situated at the lower reaches of the Burnett River.

We engaged an engineering firm to process ours and Sunwaters design ideas and after much back and forth the final design was agreed upon.

We engaged Pacific Urethanes to develop an optimum high-performance polyurethane membrane system to extend the asset life of the shutters from the current 10-year coating life to 20 years. These critical assets are located in a flood prone area and have experienced coating failure in the past from a number of issues including debris from flood waters. Adding to the complexity, the shutters separate salt water from fresh water and can at times be either fully or partially submersed.

After a detailed examination of the issues, the solution was a polyurethane coating system with superior wear and corrosion resistance properties. This product has the ability to handle difficult conditions where a more traditional coating system could not withstand.

This specially formulated coating also provides additional protection to the ‘dry side’ (downstream side) of the shutter as it is exposed to intense sunlight and saltwater atmosphere. The other side of the shutter or the upstream side can experience significant algae growth as the shutters can be fully submerged from time to time. In addition, this product also successfully covers both Mild Steel and Stainless- Steel components from end to end.

After 3 years of case studies in cost comparisons, types of materials to use, an engineering re-design with new coating specifications, Sunwater approved the fabrication of new shutters. They may set a new benchmark for future Water Utility Projects, changing from traditional coatings to more advanced, robust and long lasting coatings.

On a personal note;

This project was close to our hearts as Ben Anderson, M.B.E is my Great Grandfather, he was a Sugarcane farmer from Alloway who pioneered water development and security for Bundaberg and Isis districts. Ben was a leader, citizen and gentleman who worked tirelessly to bring irrigation to the region and in 1936 was elected to the Millaquin Mill Suppliers Committee. He held membership for an unbroken period of 37 years – ten years as Secretary and 27 years as Chairman. In February 1995 a plaque was unveiled at the Barrage in name and recognition of the pioneering work Ben achieved in his life securing water for our region.

Picture taken at the renaming of the Barrage are three of the five children Ben and his wife Charlotte instilled their life values on. Jack Anderson, Jessie Crank & Doug Anderson.

‘When dry years turn into prolonged droughts, those in the area engaged in primary industry are severely affected. Such effects are not restricted only to the man on the land, for in a developed community the whole workforce reflects the district’s prosperity, or lack thereof’. Penned By Ben Anderson in 1978.