What is sewerage?

Greater Melbourne's sewerage has provided Melburnians with world-class sanitation for over 100 years, protecting public health and the environment. Find out how.

WTP covers
Anaerobic lagoons at the Western Treatment Plant

Sewerage (also known as 'sewerage system') is vital to Melbourne's health. It is a network of over 3,000 km of pipes and pumps that safely transfers sewage from homes and businesses to our treatment plans for processing, including:

  • 400 kilometres of sewers
  • 3 main trunk sewers
  • 9 pumping stations.

Who does what, and where?

Check out this map, which shows Greater Melbourne's sewerage and the water corporation boundaries.

Greater Melbourne sewerage map

What we do

Melbourne Water constantly monitors and maintains our sewerage to keep it in good working condition. This involves:

  • inspecting sewers through closed circuit TV
  • cleaning sewers
  • trimming tree roots to prevent blockages, using high-pressure water jets
  • major works and projects to replace aging pipes or increase their capacity.

How we're investing in Melbourne's sewerage future

Melbourne Water is investing over $100 million in a sewer relining and manhole rehabilitation program to upgrade ageing sewer pipes across Melbourne.

Watch this video for details:

What are sewer spills?

Although Melbourne has world-class sewerage, sewage can still overflow sometimes.

This happens when sewer pipes are blocked or broken by tree roots, fats or oils – or when sewers are too full after heavy rain.

Watch this video to find out more about sewer spills:

How you can help

  • Don’t flush fats, oils or other dangerous chemicals down the sink or toilet.
  • Don't flush wet wipes or disposable nappies down the toilet either – visit Yarra Valley Water to learn about 'fatbergs'.
  • Check your stormwater plumbing isn’t connected to sewerage.
  • Install a water tank to capture rainwater.


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Visit our sewerage past

Swimming pool at Cocoroc township

Check out Melbourne's sewerage history, including how sewage was previously treated, or go straight to historic sewerage sites Cocoroc and Werribee Farm.

Our sewerage history


Know what we're doing now

This is a map of Melbourne Water's sewer rehabilitation projects

Find out how we're upgrading 15 kilometres of ageing sewer pipes across Melbourne with the Sewer Relining Project. 


View the Sewer Relining Project


Envisage our sewerage future

Looking down the Maribynong River

To maintain Melbourne as a liveable city, we need to manage our resources wisely, enhance liveability and support the economy: all while ensuring that sewerage remains affordable to the broader community.

Read the Melbourne Sewerage Strategy: a collaboration between Melbourne Water and Melbourne's water retailers.

Read the strategy

Last updated:
29 March 2020