Melbourne Water working at Charles Grimes Bridge

Melbourne Main Sewer Replacement

Below is information regarding the Main Melbourne Sewer replacement that will affect the river traffic upstream from the Charles Grimes Bridge where the sewer will cross the Yarra. The river traffic will be managed by Melbourne Water with 2/3rds of the river remaining open to river traffic, however the Canoeing Community is to be advised of the changes in river conditions.


The existing Melbourne Main Sewer collects waste water from central Melbourne, Docklands, and parts of South Melbourne and Port Melbourne. At Beacon Cove it connects with the Hobsons Bay Main Sewer which then carries the waste water to Werribee for treatment.

The original sewer was constructed between 1894 and 1897 and was constructed from a variety of materials, ranging from bluestone, brick, cast iron, Portland cement and concrete sourced from local suppliers. It has served the city well but now needs to be replaced due to its age and capacity to keep up with continuing urban growth.

The project involves the construction of a new 2.4 kilometre underground sewer. The new sewer will run from Docklands – near the Charles Grimes Bridge – to the existing Hobsons Bay Main Sewer in Port Melbourne, with the route crossing the Yarra River, running down Johnson Street and adjacent to the light tram reserve to Swallow Street.

To build the sewer, six shaft sites, between 10 and 15 metres deep, will be excavated along the corridor. The shaft sites will allow for the use of latest in tunnel boring machine technology and a pipe jacking methods.

Connecting into the new main sewer along its route there will also be a number of new local sewers to service existing customers in the Port Melbourne area.