The Greening the Pipeline initiative aims to transform the heritage-listed Main Outfall Sewer reserve into a vibrant parkland, where growing communities in Melbourne’s west can meet, play and relax.

It is a partnership between Melbourne Water, Wyndham City Council, Greater Western Water and Department of Transport and Planning, supported by Greening the West.

Why is this project important?

Inspired by New York’s High Line Project, which turned an disused rail line into a green inner-city oasis, Greening the Pipeline is transforming the decommissioned Main Outfall Sewer into a green corridor for the benefit of local communities. The sewer was built in the 1890s, and for nearly a century carried away most of Melbourne’s sewage for treatment.

Aerial view of Pilot Park, showing play equipment, grassy areas and a trail running alongside
After: Pilot Park created at Williams Landing in 2017

Picture of Williams Landing decommissioned sewer section showing bare concrete culvert
Before: Section of the sewer before development

The project aims to create a linear parkland along the pipeline reserve that:

  • connects communities
  • creates vibrant open space
  • improves health and wellbeing
  • enhances active transport and green links
  • manages water sensitively through Integrated Water Management (IWM)
  • celebrates heritage.

Watch the following video to learn more about the project:

What’s happening and when

The Main Outfall Sewer reserve, also known as the Pipeline Reserve or Federation Trail bike path, is 40m wide and 27kms long. It runs from the old pumping station in Spotswood (now part of Scienceworks Museum) to the Western Treatment Plant in Werribee, through suburbs in the Brimbank, Hobsons Bay and Wyndham council areas.

Project zones

The reserve has been split into 9 zones to effectively manage project design, delivery and planning:

Map of pipeline reserve from Spotswood to Werribee, showing each of the nine zones.
Map of the pipeline reserve: click to enlarge.

  1. Werribee River Gateway: an inviting space which introduces the start/finish of the pipeline
  2. Active Transport Link: to open up the pipeline reserve to more residents for walking and cycling
  3. Arts and Wellbeing: a space which supports mental and physical wellbeing
  4. Active Transport Link: to open up the pipeline reserve to more residents for walking and cycling
  5. Community Connectivity: a space which brings the local community together and connects existing open spaces
  6. Education: provides space to play and learn
  7. Water Harvesting: improvement of water quality
  8. Industrial Art: improves the space for local workers
  9. Brooklyn Gateway: an inviting space which introduces the start/finish of the pipeline

Current status

Zone 5 is currently under construction and Zones 4 and 9 are in the planning and design stage.

Zone 4 (planning)

Project lead: Wyndham City Council
Status: Engagement closed
More information: Wyndham City Council The Loop page

Zone 4 is a 1.8km section between Skeleton Creek and Old Geelong Rd.

Feedback has been sought to inform the detailed Master Plan for this area and grant applications to fund this project.

Zone 5 (under construction)

Project lead: Wyndham City Council
Status: Construction underway
More information: Wyndham City Council website

Installation of the Arndell Park stormwater harvesting system inside the Main Outfall Sewer
Installation of the Arndell Park stormwater harvesting system inside the Main Outfall Sewer

Construction for Zone 5 is well underway. A 22-megalitre stormwater harvesting system, collecting water from rain or storms, has been built to provide a sustainable source of water for the new parkland.

Landscaping works will take place between Forsyth Road and Skeleton Creek, and include: 

  • community gardens
  • upgrades to the Federation Trail
  • a stone boulder amphitheatre at Skeleton Creek 
  • an education lookout (node)
  • extensive tree planting.

The project is funded by the Victorian Government through the Suburban Parks Program and More Trees for a Cooler Greener West, Greater Western Water’s Stormwater Harvesting Partnership fund, Melbourne Water’s Living Rivers program and Wyndham City Council.

Zone 9 (plan finalised)

Project lead: Melbourne Water
Status: Master Plan finalised
More information: Melbourne Water consultation website

Zone 9 is a 2.7km section of the reserve in Brooklyn, between Millers Rd and Little Boundary Rd.

The Master Plan has been developed in response to key themes raised during the community and stakeholder engagement process – including safety, accessibility, recreation and landscape.

The vision is to create a vibrant green corridor that reflects the unique character of Brooklyn and celebrates the start and end of the Main Outfall Sewer reserve.

Koroit Creek Aqueduct under construction
Building one of the aqueducts that formed the sewer.

History of the Main Outfall Sewer

The Main Outfall Sewer (MOS) consists of an open channel lined with brick or concrete, closed conduits and three brick aqueducts.

It is an important remnant of the original sewage transfer system that helped Melbourne develop into a modern metropolis: not only solving an urgent sanitation problem, but also allowing expansion into new areas.


Main Outfall Sewer under construction, showing concrete work
Main Outfall Sewer under construction

1892 – Construction began

The sewer was a response to the sanitation crisis caused by Melbourne’s phenomenal growth in the 1880s, when untreated waste was dumped directly into waterways. This caused cholera and typhoid to run rife, and Melbourne was nicknamed ‘Smellbourne’.

1894 – Construction completed

The sewer was built by seven contractors employing 1300 workers, and at the time was the largest civil engineering project ever undertaken in Victoria. Its construction is all the more remarkable because despite being conceived during the 1880s boom, it was completed during the catastrophic 1890s depression.

Werribee Aqueduct as completed, showign interior of the sewer
Werribee Aqueduct upon completion, showing workers standing in front of the tunnel section of the sewer

1993 – Operation ceased

The steam-powered Spotswood Pumping Station used to push sewage back up to the surface to start its journey along the Main Outfall Sewer to the Werribee treatment plant. Our sewerage system still operates in a similar way, but the pumping stations are now located at Brooklyn and Hoppers Crossing, and the sewers are covered until they reach the Western Treatment Plant.

2005 – Land transfer

Ownership of the Main Outfall Sewer reserve was transferred from Melbourne Water to the Crown, and the land then licensed to VicRoads to build a bike path. Melbourne Water retains ownership of the Main Outfall Sewer infrastructure.

2009 – Road declared

Cyclist rides along Federation Trail next to Pilot Park, built as part of the Greening the Pipeline initiative
Cyclists ride along Federation Trail

The reserve land was declared a road (named Federation Trail) by VicRoads, under the Road Management Act 2004.

2015 – Greening the Pipeline partnership established

Melbourne Water initiated partnerships with Wyndham City Council, Great Western Water, the Department of Transport and Planning, and Greening the West to develop the vision for the Greening the Pipeline initiative.

2017 – Pilot Park completed

A proof-of-concept park was collaboratively designed with the local community. It delivered a connecting green community space which incorporated recreational opportunities, tree planting and stormwater harvesting for irrigation.

Image shows the transformation of the pipeline into a community park where the open area is covered in grassland and plantings
Pilot Park at launch, 2017

2021 – Zone 5 construction commenced

Contact us

We value your feedback. To share your comments or request more information about the project, email:

 [email protected]

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