Environmental Protection

Recycled Water Trials Begin in Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia has achieved the Victorian government's target of recycling 20 percent of its wastewater two years ahead of schedule.
New figures released by Premier John Brumby and Water Minister Tim Holding during an inspection of recycled water trials at the Eastern Treatment Plant at Bangholme, show Melbourne had recycled 22.5 percent of its wastewater in 2006/07.

Brumby said recycled water was now being used at record levels in Melbourne.
"Since 1999 the use of recycled water has increased from around 14 billion liters per year to 65 billion liters, " Brumby said.

"Wastewater is being recycled for use by industry, sports grounds, nurseries, and residential housing developments, which is reducing demand for our water supplies," Brumby said.

"This is also helping to reduce the volume of treated water discharged at the Boags Rocks ocean outfall at Gunnamatta."

In 2002 the Victorian government set the target to recycle 20 percent of Melbourne's wastewater by 2010.

Holding said that, as part of the upgrades to Melbourne Water's $300 million Eastern Treatment Plant upgrade, scientific trials had commenced to identify the best treatment and technology for the plant.

"A key component of the Next Stage of the government's Water Plan is the upgrade the Eastern Treatment Plant to provide more than 100 billion liters of Class A recycled water for non-drinking purposes by 2012," he said.

"Around 100,000 samples will be obtained over the 12-month trial by Melbourne Water to test different technologies for filtration, advanced treatment, and disinfection of recycled water.

Recycled water is wastewater that has been treated to fit-for-purpose standards that meet strict EPA Victoria and Department of Human Services guidelines.

Key recycled water projects currently under way include:

• The Werribee Irrigation District Water Recycling Scheme that provided almost 11 billion liters of recycled water to irrigators in 2006/07;
• Eastern Irrigation Scheme in Melbourne's southeast provided over 8 billion liters of recycled water for agriculture in 2006/07; and
• South East Water supplied over 2 billion liters of recycled water to agricultural customers on the Mornington Peninsula.
Holding said dual-pipe systems were being installed to provide recycled water directly to new residential developments right across Melbourne's suburbs.

"Over the next 25 years, more than 40,000 new homes in Melbourne's southeast will connect to recycled water as part of a dual-pipe system, which will save about four billion liters of water each year and many thousands more homes will be connected in other suburbs across Melbourne," Holding said.

"Recycled water is piped directly to homes in new housing developments for garden watering, toilet flushing, and car washing -- reducing water use in these homes by about a third."

Purple taps, pipes, hoses and meters help residents distinguish between recycled water and drinking water supplies.

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