The importance of 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.

How we define sewerage

Sewerage (also known as our '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.


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

Sewerage includes:

  • 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.


Investing in our 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:


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

Do you know what to flush... and what not to flush? 

In short:

  • 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.

You can also:

  • Check your stormwater plumbing isn’t connected to sewerage.
  • Install a water tank to capture rainwater.

Got it? Watch this video to test your knowledge:



Next: What happens
after you flush?



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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 Maribyrnong River

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

Read the strategy

Last updated:
30 July 2020