Melbourne Water is committed to enhancing life and liveability for Melburnians. To maintain our world-class sewerage system, we will soon be upgrading the last remaining section of the Maribyrnong River Main (MRM) Sewer in Essendon West and Aberfeldie. 

Maribyrnong River aerial view

There will be no impacts or interruptions to water or sewerage services during the works.

Why this project is important

The MRM Sewer is 8.8 kilometres long and is one of the main sewers in Melbourne Water's 400-kilometre network. Each day, it transports approximately 24 million litres of sewage from 36,000 properties in the north-western suburbs of Melbourne to where it’s treated at the Western Treatment Plant in Werribee.

Built in stages between 1963 and 1977, the condition of the MRM Sewer has deteriorated in recent years and some sections are coming to the end of their working life. Between mid-2018 and mid-2020, 7.2 kilometres of the MRM Sewer was upgraded across Essendon West and Avondale Heights.

Starting in early October 2021, we’ll be relining an additional 1.25 kilometres of the MRM Sewer in two stages, reaching completion in June 2022.

Upgrading the sewer is an important initiative for the residents of the north-west suburbs as it will ensure the community continues to be provided with a secure and reliable sewerage service for decades to come.


What’s happening and when

Stage 1 – October 2021 to January 2022

The project's first stage will involve relining one kilometre of the MRM sewer under The Boulevard from Riverside Park near Fawkner Street to Maribyrnong Park, and the rehabilitation of 14 manholes.

We are minimising impacts to surrounding residents by completing works between Riverside Park and Vida Street during the day.

Works between Vida Street and Maribyrnong Park will occur at night when flows in the sewer are minimal.

Stage 2 – April 2022 to June 2022

The second stage of the project involves relining 250 metres of the Maribyrnong River Reliever (MRR) which is a section of sewer pipe that helps to remove and hold extra sewage flows from the MRM Sewer, particularly during peak wet weather events.

This section is located at Afton Street Conservation Reserve and includes the rehabilitation of three manhole.

Works in this section will be completed at night when sewer flows are low.

Maribyrnong River Main Sewer Upgrade work area map
Maribyrnong River Main Sewer Upgrade work area map

How is the sewer upgraded?

Upgrading the sewer involves:

  • Cleaning the sewer
  • Relining the sewer by inserting a new plastic sleeve into the existing pipe
  • Filling the gap between the existing pipe and new liner with cement
  • Rehabilitating ageing and damaged manholes.

Spiral wound in place sewer liner diagram

The technique we are using to upgrade the sewer is called 'Spiral Wound PVC'. This involves unwinding the relining material as a flat strip from a spool at the top of the manhole. The new plastic sleeve is wound into place, lining the inside of the existing sewer pipe. The gap between the existing pipe and new liner is then filled with cement (called grouting).

Being a trenchless technology, relining is the best way to repair ageing or damaged sewer pipes as it means we do not need to dig up the pipe, minimising impacts on the local environment and the community. This work is performed by accessing existing manholes.


Project Timeline


April – September 2021

Planning, design and approvals

Pre-construction activities undertaken

Not Started

October 2021 – January 2022

Sewer upgrade works for Stage 1: Along The Boulevard from Riverside Park to Maribyrnong Park

Not Started

April 2022 to June 2022

Sewer upgrade works for Stage 2: Afton Street Conservation Reserve

These dates may be subject to change as works progress and more information becomes available. We will keep you updated about the timing of the works as the project progresses.


What to expect during construction

A staged approach to undertaking the works

The majority of works will take place around existing manholes, moving progressively along the sewer alignment from manhole to manhole. We will be working hard to complete the sewer upgrade as quickly and efficiently as possible; this will be achieved by having multiple work crews undertaking activities in different areas at the same time.

While we will be accessing each sewer manhole multiple times for different activities, we will not be in any given location for the entire duration of the project.

Night works

Night works are required for some of the relining works when sewage flows and traffic are at their lowest. This makes it the safest time for crews to be working in the busier streets and reduces the impact on the wider traffic network.

Working hours

Working hours are as follows:

Night works: 8pm to 7am, Monday to Saturday

Day works: 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday

Weekend hours: 7am to 3:30pm Saturdays (only if required)

Some extended work hours may be needed to complete critical work activities. Affected residents and businesses will be informed of this beforehand.

No works will be undertaken over the Christmas holiday period from 21 December 2021 to 3 January 2021


Some noise is expected from trucks, reversing beepers, machinery and other equipment. We are reducing these disruptions by working only during the day in residential areas. Equipment such as generators and pumps will be fitted with noise reducing barriers and are not expected to be disruptive to our neighbours.


Some odour is expected during the works, particularly when sewer manholes are opened and the sewer is cleaned. We will minimise smells as much as possible by using ventilation systems to capture the odour at the source.

Impacts on local traffic and parking

There will be changes to traffic conditions on The Boulevard and Holmes Road in Aberfeldie, including speed limit reductions and lane closures while we work around sewer manholes on these roads. Detours will be in place down some local streets, and parking may be impacted while we work in some areas. We'll have traffic management to ensure motorists are able to safely navigate around our work areas. Please follow directions from signs and traffic controllers to ensure your own safety, as well as the safety of our workers and other community members.

Reduced access to shared paths

There may be reduced access for pedestrians along small sections of shared paths while we work around sewer manholes, with temporary diversions in place for path users. We ask that the community take extra care around these areas and suggest that dogs are kept on a leash at all times for their safety.

Site office

Two small site compounds including an office and storage area for materials will be located in the carpark of the Moonee Valley Transfer Station and around Afton Street Conservation Reserve.


After the works have been completed, we will restore disturbed areas to their original level of amenity or similar condition. Reinstatement will be inspected by Moonee Valley City Council to ensure community safety and well-being.

Water and sewerage services

We do not anticipate any impacts or interruptions to your water or sewerage services during the works. If you do experience any disruptions, please contact your local water retailer, Greater Western Water on 13 44 99.

Respecting the landscape

We are working closely with Moonee Valley City Council and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation to manage the works and to ensure cultural heritage and ecological values of the local area are protected.

The project has been carefully designed to avoid any removal of vegetation; however, we may need to trim branches where trees or shrubs are located in close proximity to work areas.

Thank you

We thank the community in advance for your patience and understanding during these important works.

Last updated:
15 September 2021