Melbourne Water sewer duplication to service future generations

Water Minister Harriet Shing, kids from Spotswood Primary School, Local Member for Albert Park Nina Taylor and the Local Member for Williamstown Mellissa Horne in front of Lucey the Hobsons Bay tunnel boring machine

Tunnelling work to build Melbourne’s newest sewer pipeline has begun. ‘Lucey’ – Melbourne Water’s tunnel boring machine is doing all the hard work. 

The new 670-metre Hobsons Bay main sewer stretches from Westgate Park (Port Melbourne) to Scienceworks in Spotswood, under the Yarra River. The original was built almost 65 years ago. It is responsible for the transfer of 30 per cent of Melbourne’s wastewater. 

The $206 million Melbourne Water-funded critical sewage infrastructure project allows sewage to continue to flow to its Western Treatment Plant. Once completed, the existing sewer – which is reaching the end of its service life – will receive an upgrade. 

Lucey, the tunnel boring machine, was named by the students at the nearby Spotswood Primary School. It was named after Lucey Alford, the first female bacteriologist and scientist employed by the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works – now known as Melbourne Water. 

“The Hobsons Bay main sewer project forms part of a broader Melbourne Water capital infrastructure program. It will enhance the reliability of our sewerage network and services for the benefit of Melburnians today and for generations to come,” Melbourne Water Managing Director Dr Nerina Di Lorenzo said. 

“We’re looking towards the future and anticipating the evolving needs of a growing Melbourne. The population of Melbourne is projected to nearly double in population by 2050. This project ensures our infrastructure is keeping up with future demand.” 

The Hobsons Bay main sewer pipeline aims to achieve a net zero carbon footprint. It will be located at depths between 24.5 and 27 metres below the surface of the Yarra. The new pipe will be positioned alongside its existing twin, providing a significant increase in sewer capacity. 

A joint initiative delivered by the Victorian Government, Melbourne Water, John Holland and Museums Victoria, the project is due for completion in mid-2024. 

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