HISTORY

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The Greening the Pipeline initiative aims to convert 27km of the heritage listed Main Outfall Sewer pipeline into a parkland. The vision is to create a vibrant space that will connect communities, and provide a unique space to meet, play and relax.

The pipeline reserve is 40m wide and runs for 27km from the old pumping station in Spotswood (now part of Scienceworks Museum) to the Western Treatment Plant in Werribee, spanning suburbs in Brimbank City, Hobsons Bay City and Wyndham City Councils.


TIMELINE


The Main Outer Sewer started construction.

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1892
The Main Outer Sewer completed construction.

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1894
The sewer ceased operating.

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1993
Ownership of the Main Outfall Sewer reserve was transferred from Melbourne Water to the Crown.  The reserve land was then licensed by the Crown to VicRoads to construct the bike path known as the Federation Trail.  Melbourne Water retains ownership of the Main Outfall Sewer infrastructure.
2005
The Main Outfall Sewer reserve land was declared a road (named Federation Trail), under the Road Management Act 2004 by VicRoads.
2009
Melbourne Water initiated partnerships with VicRoads, Wyndham City Council, Greening the West and City West Water to develop the vision for  the Greening the Pipeline initiative.
2015

KEY FACTS


  • The Main Outer Sewer consists of a semicircular brick or concrete lined channel, in places arched over to form a circular tunnel with an earth covering, and three brick arched aqueducts.
  • The sewer was constructed by seven contractors employing 1300 workers.
  • At the time of its construction, the Main Outer Sewer was the largest civil engineering project ever undertaken in Victoria.
  • The construction of the Main Outer Sewer was a response to the sanitation crisis caused by the phenomenal growth of Melbourne in the 1880’s when untreated wastes were dumped directly into the sea and rivers at that time. Melbourne was referred to as ‘Smellbourne’ because of the city’s unsanitary waste disposal methods, causing cholera and typhoid to run rife.
  • The Main Outfall Sewer is an important artefact of the original sewage transfer process that supported development of Melbourne into a modern metropolis; not only solving an urgent sanitation problem, but also allowing the city to expand into new areas.
  • The construction of the system is all the more remarkable because, although conceived during the years of the 1880s boom, its completion was achieved during the years of the catastrophic 1890s depression.
  • The sewage system began with a water closet at every property, which delivered the sewage by gravity through a network of underground sewers to a steam pumping station at Spotswood, where it was pumped up to the surface to begin its journey along the Main Outer Sewer to the sewage plant in Werribee. Today, our sewage system operates in a similar fashion, however the pumping stations are now located at Brooklyn and Hoppers Crossing and the sewers are covered until it reaches the Western Treatment Plant.