What is recycled water?
Recycled water is water that has been used before, and is then cleaned to remove impurities. It is a valuable resource that can be used in many ways.
Recycled water, (sometimes called reclaimed water), comes from wastewater, which includes sewage, greywater and stormwater. Sydney Water treats recycled water to NSW Health standards so that it is suitable and safe for its intended use.
There are different qualities of recycled water and all go through multiple treatment steps. When wastewater is treated, a series of physical, chemical and biological processes are used to clean it before it can be used again. Treatment may include biological processes, sand filtration, microfiltration, chlorination, ultraviolet disinfection and reverse osmosis, depending on how the water will be used.
Where does recycled water come from?
Recycled water originally comes from wastewater – water that has been used previously in bathrooms, laundries, kitchens and businesses.
In most cases, recycled water is from sewage treatment plants that produce high quality treated wastewater. There are often additional recycling facilities inside the plant. Recycled water is supplied to customers through pipes that are separate to the drinking water supply.
Sewer mining is another potential source of recycled water that involves extracting and treating sewage from existing sewer pipelines. The sewage is treated on location using a small treatment plant. This solution allows access to an alternative source of recycled water where dual reticulation is not available. Recycled water produced from sewer mining is commonly used to irrigate sports fields, parks and golf courses and will soon be used in some commercial and residential buildings and industrial sites.
Stormwater recycling offers another on-site recycling option, where treated stormwater is used for non-drinking water applications.
Greywater is household wastewater from showers, baths, basins and washing machines, but not toilets. To know more, please visit www.dwe.nsw.gov.au
Is recycled water safe to use?
Yes, it is safe when used as intended. Sydney Water produces recycled water to meet or exceed the water quality standards outlined in the relevant recycled water guidelines. NSW Health advises and regulates Sydney Water on the health aspects of recycled water use and quality.
To ensure safety, the quality of the recycled water is regularly monitored during treatment, in the pipe network and at selected customers’ properties. Sydney Water reports the results of water quality monitoring to NSW Health as part of its Operating Licence.
It's highly unlikely that you'll become ill if you accidentally drink recycled water supplied by Sydney Water.
The information above is taken from an FAQ produced by Sydney Water. To download the full FAQ or to learn more about recycled water go to http://www.sydneywater.com.au/Savingwater/RecyclingandReuse/