City West Water has begun major works on the Spencer Street Sewer Upgrade as part of a program to ensure reliable essential services to Melbourne’s CBD.

City West Water will be constructing over 700m of new sewer mains in Spencer Street in Melbourne’s CBD.

The original sewer network in Melbourne’s CBD is brick, and was laid by hand over 100 years ago. While it has served the city well, it is time for it to be upgraded.

Victoria in Future (2015) forecasts growth of approximately 60,000 new apartments in the CBD over the next 35 years, which includes approximately 14,000 apartments in the Spencer Street area. The proposed additional 14,000 apartments, when fully occupied, will discharge enough sewage annually to fill the MCG to a depth of 115m which is 1.5 times the height of the light towers.

Because of this, it is essential to increase the capacity of the sewer network to support this growth.

Installation of the 1.5m diameter sewer pipeline will be completed by a tunnel boring machine to minimise the above ground impacts and reduce the need to dig an open trench along Spencer Street.

The new sewer will be installed 11m below the ground – roughly the height of the sheds at the Queen Victoria Market. This means that the tunnelling itself will have very little, if any, impacts on residents, businesses and commuters.

Construction of a launch shaft at the intersection of Lonsdale Street and Spencer Street is expected to be completed by January 2018. The launch shaft will be the main access point for tunnel boring works that will follow in 2018.

The upgrade is expected to be completed by late 2018.

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