The importance of sewerage

Our sewerage system has provided world-class sanitation for over 100 years, protecting public health and the environment.

Sewerage in Melbourne

Greater Melbourne’s sewerage is a network of over 3,000km of pipes and pumps, which are managed by Melbourne Water and local retail water companies. These safely transfer sewage from homes and businesses to treatment plants for processing, and are vital to Melbourne’s health.

Melbourne Waters part of the sewerage network includes:

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

Greater Melbourne sewerage map
Map of sewerage assets, showing retail water company boundaries. Click to enlarge.

Maintaining the system

Pumping station interior showing an employee at work
The interior of a pumping station, an employee at work

We constantly monitor and maintain 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 ageing pipes or increase their capacity – including our $100 million sewer relining and manhole rehabilitation program.

Sewer spills

Although we have world-class sewerage, sometimes sewage can still overflow, or ‘spill’. This happens when sewer pipes are blocked or broken by tree roots, fats or oils – or when sewers are too full after heavy rain. 

How you can help

Make sure you know what you can flush down the toilet or sink – and what you can’t!

Don’t flush:

  • fats or oils
  • dangerous chemicals
  • wet wipes or disposable nappies.

Tip: check that your stormwater plumbing isn’t connected to the sewerage system.

Got it? Watch this video to test your knowledge:


Next: What happens
after you flush?

Last updated:
8 September 2021