Recycled Water

Recycled water is any water that has been used at least once and then supplied for reuse, either treated or untreated.  Without appropriate treatment, recycled water may contain a range of contaminants.  For example, water used from the final rinse in a washing machine is only lightly contaminated and thus may be used again, untreated, for the first wash of another cycle.  On the other hand, sewage must be treated at a sewage treatment plant before it can be recycled for any purpose.

Recycled water is water that has been used in industry, business or homes such as shower water, laundry, kitchen and toilet water. Once used it becomes known as wastewater. Wastewater is pumped through pipes to treatment plants. At these treatment plants the wastewater is treated by a variety of processes that physically remove solids, and biological processes that utilise naturally occurring bacteria to breakdown impurities in the water. Chemicals are sometimes added to reduce nutrient levels.  The final result is treated effluent  which is then used as recycled water.

Recycled water can be used in a variety of industries, businesses and recreational areas such as golf clubs and bowling greens.  It saves businesses money as many require large amounts of water for their day-to-day running.  An increased focus is being placed on recycled water to replace the use of potable (drinking) water supplies for uses that do not require humans to drink or come into contact with the water.  This initiative has been used in many areas of Australia and the world for years.  In Gosford City and Wyong Shire golf clubs, schools, bowling clubs and golf resorts along with Council use recycled water that has been chlorinated to water greens, gardens, flush toilets etc.  The most significant benefit of using recycled water is a reduced demand for potable water.

Countries such as England actually treat wastewater to a standard fit for drinking.  Many other countries also treat wastewater for use as potable water.  Areas in Australia for example some country towns along the Murray River use in some form recycled water.  Wastewater is treated and the result effluent is pumped back into the river through outfalls.  Communities downstream draw their water supply from this same river.

Figure 1: Recycled Water Sign at an Oval in Wyong Shire  (Source: Wyong Shire Council)

Figure 2:  A Cricket Field Being Watered by Reclaimed Water  (Source: Wyong Shire Council)

Figure 3:  Wyong Shire Council Recycled Water Truck  (Source: Wyong Shire Council 2005)