Werribee Sewage Farm
or, more formally, the Western Treatment Plant
of Melbourne Water
, is an 110 km² sewage treatment
farm adjacent to the town of Werribee
, 30 km west of the city of Melbourne
, Victoria, Australia
, on the coast of Port Phillip Bay
. The plant was established in the 1890s and began treating sewage from Melbourne in 1897. Treated effluent is used to irrigate 85 km² of pasture for grazing 15,000 cattle and 40,000 sheep. It treats 55% of Melbourne’s sewage – about 485 ML/day.
The Werribee Sewage Farm is one of Australia’s best-known sites for recreational birding
, with about 270 species of birds recorded there. The sewage treatment lagoons, Lake Borrie
, creeks, saltmarsh
and coast host large numbers of sedentary and migratory waterbirds
. It is one of the few wintering sites for the Critically Endangered Orange-bellied Parrot
. Lake Borrie, with adjacent lagoons and coastal mudflats, is protected as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention
. Access to Werribee Sewage Farm for birdwatching is by permit only; permits can be obtained from Melbourne Water.
According to the National pollutant inventory
the Western Treatment Plant is one of the biggest polluters in Australia.
High emissions include chlorophenols, fluoride, ammonia, total nitrogen and total phosphorus.