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

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

Maribyrnong River aerial view

Why this project is important

The MRM Sewer is 8.8 kilometres long and 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 Melbourne's north-western suburbs to the Western Treatment Plant in Werribee, where it is treated.

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 were upgraded across Essendon West and Avondale Heights.

Starting in early October 2021, we have been progressively 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 this will ensure they continue to be provided with a secure and reliable sewerage service for decades to come.

What’s happening and when

Project timeline


April to September 2021

Planning, design and approvals

Pre-construction activities undertaken


Stage 1: October – December 2021

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

The project's first stage involved 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.


Stage 2: January – April 2022

Sewer upgrade works for Stage 2: Afton Street Conservation Reserve

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

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.

Works for this project have now been completed, with the exception of one manhole, which will now be completed as part of the Epsom Road Main Sewer Renewal. The remaining manhole is expected to be relined in mid to late 2022.


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

How is the sewer upgraded?

Spiral wound in place sewer liner diagram

Upgrading the sewer involves:

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

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.

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.

We will be accessing each sewer manhole multiple times for different activities. Site facilities will be established at Afton Street Conservation Reserve for approximately 2 months, while we complete stage 2.

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, Sunday to Thursday
  • 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.


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

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

A small site compound, including an office and storage area for materials, will be located 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.


Want to stay updated?

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You can also directly ask our project team any questions you may have about the project.


Last updated:
12 July 2022