Northern Sewerage Project

Northern Sewerage Project, VIC

The Northern Sewerage Project (NSP) was an investment in Melbourne’s future; an essential infrastructure project involving the construction of 12.5 kilometres (stage 1 and 2 combined) of new sewer pipes, up to 64 metres underground.

Using two state-of-the-art Earth Pressure Balanced Tunnel Boring Machines (EPB TBMs) and one Double Shielded Gripper TBM, the team successfully tunnelled sections with diametres of between three and four metres. The tunnels were then completed with HDPE lined pipes to create the new sewer pipeline.

Re-sequencing of the works reduced the number of Tunnel Boring Machines required, from four to three. Additionally, multiple TBMs were used to excavate from a single shaft. This innovative solution provided the client with significant cost savings.

Extensive stakeholder engagement was carried out to mitigate local opposition to the project. A community relations team consisting of staff from John Holland, Melbourne Water and Yarra Valley Water effectively overcame community resistance.

The successful delivery of the NSP increased the capacity of the sewerage system for Melbourne’s growing northern suburbs, and will protect the Merri and Moonee Ponds Creeks from the damaging impact of sewerage overflows that can often occur after heavy rain.


  • Finalist – 2013 Australian Construction Achievement Awards, Australian Constructors Association and Engineers Australia;
  • Winner – 2012 NCE International Tunnelling Awards, Tunnelling Contractor of the Year, New Civil Engineer/International Tunnelling Association;
  • Winner – 2012 Project Management Achievement Awards, Construction/Engineering, Australian Institute of Project Management;
  • Highly Commended – 2012 Victorian CCF Earth Awards, Civil Contractors Federation;
  • Highly Commended – 2012 AQA Victorian Water Awards, Infrastructure Project Innovation Award, Australian Water Association