Improving our wastewater system

Projects to make our wastewater system work better

Maintaining and upgrading our wastewater system is an important part of how we help protect public health and the environment across Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Illawarra. Whether it's our pipes, overflows, pumping stations, or treatment and recycling plants, we have a range of ongoing projects in place to improve Greater Sydney's wastewater system.

Maintenance Hole Inspection Program

Our wastewater network assets can be anywhere: under a road, in your back yard, in the heart of bushland and near waterways. Often, they're in environmentally sensitive areas.

So, rather than reacting to wastewater overflows after they happen, this program allows our Environmental Inspection Team to seek out and solve potential issues, instead. The team captures valuable information on the condition of our assets and pipes.

This allows us to identify vulnerable assets and plan ongoing prevention programs. These include:

  • cleaning roots, obstructions and debris out of pipes
  • installing early-warning devices for blockages in maintenance holes
  • repairing and rebuilding maintenance holes wastewater pipes 
  • relining wastewater pipes.

If you see an Environmental Inspection Team in your area
They're working to keep you safe. They'll ask your permission if there's a maintenance hole on your property they need access to. If you're not at home, they'll leave a calling card to arrange a suitable time.

Repairing and replacing pipes

We continually check our wastewater assets to keep them in good condition. The aim is to improve the reliability of our wastewater system by repairing or replacing old wastewater pipes. We also install new pipes to increase the system’s wastewater capacity. Specific programs are in place throughout Greater Sydney.

We repair or replace small sections of cracked, collapsed or damaged wastewater pipes across our system throughout Sydney, and complete thousands of jobs each year. Find out more about our Network Repairs Program.

We’re investigating options to deliver a permanent long-term solution to manage the last remaining untreated wastewater ocean outfalls in NSW. See what we're doing at Vaucluse and Diamond Bay in Sydney.

We're upgrading lengths of our wastewater and stormwater pipes throughout Sydney. This work helps prevent leaks in pipes for the next 50 years.

This work includes:

  • relining small wastewater pipes (up to 300 mm in diameter)
  • relining large wastewater pipes (up to 900 mm in diameter)
  • rehabilitating junctions in the wastewater pipe network
  • inspecting and repairing maintenance holes
  • cleaning wastewater and stormwater pipes
  • using CCTV to inspect wastewater and stormwater pipes before and after the work.

Each project takes about 4 weeks to complete, and specialist crews usually need to make several visits to affected properties. 

This work is part of our SewerFix Program to improve the wastewater and stormwater systems and protect public health and the environment. To find out more, call us on 8849 6444 or write to Sydney Water, Community Relations – SewerFix, PO Box 399, Parramatta NSW 2124. 

Installing liners in wastewater pipes helps prevent overflows.

Preventing wastewater overflows

When the wastewater system is blocked or reaches capacity in heavy rain, water from our wastewater network can overflow into the local environment or on private properties. Our programs include removing blockages from pipes and building infrastructure or installing new pipes to store excess wastewater flows when needed. This helps to:

  • stop uncontrolled wastewater overflows
  • protect public health
  • protect the environment.

Our Internal Surcharge Improvement Program is helping us fix wastewater (sewage) surcharges at private properties in all areas of Greater Sydney. 

Key locations include Banksia, Baulkham Hills, Beverly Hills, Castle Hill, Concord, Drummoyne, Ermington, Fairfield East, Freshwater, Kogarah, Mosman, Putney, Quakers Hill, Seven Hills, West Pennant Hills, West Ryde, Wollongong and Woronora.

This work is part of our SewerFix Program to improve the wastewater and stormwater systems and protect public health and the environment. To find out more, call us on 8849 6444 or write to Sydney Water, Community Relations – SewerFix, PO Box 399, Parramatta NSW 2124. 

You can help us prevent overflows
Everyone can play a part in preventing wastewater overflows and keeping wastewater pipes and assets clearer for longer. Find out what you need to know to stay safe.

Wastewater pumping stations

Wastewater pumping stations move wastewater flows uphill, where gravity is not effective in transporting wastewater through the system. We build, modify or repair our wastewater pumping stations to help the wastewater system operate efficiently.

Wastewater treatment and water recycling plants

We treat wastewater from homes, businesses and industry to a high level at our wastewater treatment and water recycling plants. Our wastewater treatment plant improvement program helps increase the performance and reliability of our plants. This includes minimising odours and expanding the capacity of our treatment plants to service the growing population.

We're upgrading our Picton Water Recycling Plant to service new connections and growth in the area.

We're also improving the odour management system at our North Head Wastewater Treatment Plant.

We're working at Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant to:

  • improve the reliability of the processes that treat wastewater (sewage)
  • reduce operating costs
  • improve the quality of the biosolids we produce
  • improve safety and working conditions
  • ensure we continue to comply with our environment protection licence requirements into the future.

Our work to improve existing infrastructure above and below ground at the plant includes replacing or upgrading the:

  • screenings collection, transfer and handling processes
  • grit capture, dewatering and out loading processes
  • raw wastewater pumps
  • sludge and scum collection systems
  • sludge digestion and biosolids handling and transfer systems
  • overall control system and other electrical equipment
  • water delivery infrastructure, compressed air, recycled water and underground ventilation systems.

We'll also remove equipment that's no longer required, and landscape the site.

This work is being delivered by 4Malabar, an alliance between Sydney Water, John Holland, UGL Engineering and GHD.

Learn more about the plant from Our community update (570KB), or email

Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant

Have your say about our projects
Visit Sydney Water Talk to learn more about our projects and provide feedback.