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A century-old sewer running under the Yarra River in Melbourne’s inner east will soon be replaced as Melbourne Water begins essential works.

The works are part of an important upgrade to the Hawthorn Main Sewer, a vital stage of Melbourne’s network that transfers sewage from the city’s east to the Western Treatment Plant in Werribee.

The sewer was constructed in the early 1900s and is reaching the end of its service life.

The project involves replacing the current brick sewer with two glass reinforced plastic pipes.

The project team will construct a shaft on each side of the Yarra (in roadways) and tunnel under the river.

Piling is required on the Richmond side of the works due to ground conditions.

Melbourne Water’s General Manager of Major Program Delivery, Eamonn Kelly, said the upgrade to the Hawthorn Main Sewer would keep the crucial asset functioning well into the future.

“It will provide the community with a world-class, secure and reliable sewerage service for the next 100 years,” Mr Kelly said.

“The Hawthorn Main Sewer has always been an integral part of Melbourne’s critical infrastructure and to this day is one of the principal sewers in Melbourne Water’s 400km network.”

There will be no impact on water or sewerage services during the works.

Stage one of the upgrade, to reline a 1.7km stretch of the sewer from Power Street in Hawthorn to Burnley Street in Richmond, is complete.

This final phase of the project is due to be finished in early 2023.

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