Securing Melbourne’s sewer network for the future

Six ageing sewer pipelines around Melbourne are being upgraded as part of a three-year, $100m project to keep the city’s sewage flowing for decades to come.

The six major sewers, several of which are more than 100 years old, are reaching the end of their life, leading to more frequent busts and cracks. The sewers to be upgraded are located in Brighton, Maribyrnong, Hawthorn, Pascoe Vale, Kew and Spotswood.

Melbourne Water operates over 400 kilometres of sewers around the city and treats approximately 320,000 million litres of sewerage every year. The Sewer Relining Program will see around 15 kilometres of sewer upgraded.

The six sewers will be relined using special trenchless technology, avoiding costly and time-consuming works to dig up the existing pipes and replacing them.

Melbourne Water General Manager, Major Program Delivery, Eamonn Kelly said the special methods would have significant community benefits. 

“Using these trenchless methods to rehabilitate ageing or damaged sewer pipes helps to minimise the impacts on the local community as it means there’s no need to dig up the existing pipe”, he said.

Mr Kelly said ageing infrastructure presented significant challenges.

“Much of Melbourne’s existing sewerage system was constructed at around the same time; in the late 1890s after the 1888 Royal Commission into Melbourne’s public health, which led to the creation of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works.”

“As a result, many of these assets are reaching the end of their life at the same time so we need to address a number of sewers around the city at once.” 
Mr Kelly said the sewer relining program was ‘flush’ with historical significance.

“The first sewer to be relined in the program, the Brighton Main Sewer, is actually connected to what’s believed to be Melbourne’s first flushing toilet, located in a home on the corner of Princes Street and Rouse Street in Port Melbourne.”

“100 years ago it was the site of the All England XI Hotel, which was chosen to get the first toilet in 1897, so there is plenty of history flowing through this whole project.”

The Brighton Sewer upgrade has commenced with some impacts on popular Beach Road, but Mr Kelly said the works would be completed as soon as possible.

“Construction of the original Brighton Main Sewer commenced in 1907 and it took about two years to build.”

“Construction methods have improved since then and, despite our original assessments that the project would take a little over a year to complete, we now expect to see it finished in around ten months.”

“Each of these sewer relining projects will improve public and environmental health by reducing the risks or sewage spills due to cracks, leaks and bursts and ensure reliable services into the future.”

Local residents will be advised in advance of each of the projects commencing around the city. Melbourne Water thanks the community for their patience while we complete these important works.

Important Information

  • Melbourne Water’s Sewer Relining Program will involve the upgrade of six ageing sewer pipelines across Melbourne.
  • Projects will commence throughout 2018, these projects will continue for approximately three years. Total project cost is around $100M.

The six projects include:

Brighton Main Sewer (Upper Hobsons Bay main) Brighton – construction underway

Maribyrnong River main sewer rehabilitation, Avondale Heights, Essendon West, Aberfeldie – commences mid-2018

Kew Pumping Station rising main sewer rehabilitation, Kew – commences late 2018

North Yarra Deviator sewer rehabilitation, Spotswood – commences mid-2018

Hawthorn main sewer rehabilitation, Hawthorn – commences late 2018

Pascoe Vale sewer rehabilitation, Pascoe Vale – commences late 2018

  • During works residents may experience changes to traffic conditions, including some lane and road closures and temporary restrictions to street access and parking. Minor detours may be required.
  • Residents will retain access to their homes if they are subject to street closures or driveway works.
  • Please obey traffic and pedestrian management rules including signs erected as part of the project. This ensures public safety as well as safety of construction personnel.
  • More information about the sewer relining program is available at