Ecological Water Quality - Water Trtmt., Reuse

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The disadvantages of reusing wastewater also need to be considered.

The Future of Water Reuse and Recycle

Currently, the main disadvantage for most households is the financial cost of installing and maintaining a reuse system. The attractiveness of the investment would depend on:. If your house is frequently unoccupied for a fortnight or more, for example a holiday home, select carefully to find a reuse system that can cope with intermittent use. Most systems that include biological treatment do not function properly if used intermittently. A number of things can simplify treatment requirements.

Remember to check with your local council or water authority before you reuse wastewater, as standards and permission requirements vary. NOTE: The septic tank system, the most prevalent on-site wastewater treatment system in rural Australia, does not actively treat wastewater to remove disease-causing pathogens.

Effluent from a septic tank should be disposed of underground at soil depths greater than mm. However, a number of precautions need to be taken to ensure it is safe and environmentally sound. Avoid watering vegetables with reuse water if they are to be eaten raw. There is a chance that some pathogenic organisms may still be present even after treatment. To maintain the health of your garden, the level of reuse of wastewater needs to be balanced with the amount of water, solids and nutrients that the plants and soil in the garden can absorb. Adjust the amount of wastewater to conditions in the garden.

Greywater can be reused in gardens with little or no treatment. Subsurface irrigation systems — slotted drainage pipe or special driplines — spread water evenly around the garden and are safer for untreated greywater. Outdoors is the only place where treated and disinfected blackwater can be safely reused. There are many different types of blackwater treatment systems suitable for outdoor use. Contact your local council for a list of accredited treatment systems for your area.

Currently the most common wastewater treatment and reuse system in Australia is the aerated wastewater treatment system and many commercial models are available in all states. After the wastewater solids have settled, the effluent is aerated to assist bacterial breakdown of organic matter, followed by a further stage of disinfection, usually using chlorine pellets.

On-site wastewater treatment systems using microfiltration are now available for domestic use. These systems require no chemicals but do need energy.

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Some treatment systems use worms and microbes, and little energy and no chemicals, to treat all household wastewater. They produce effluent suitable for subsurface irrigation and compost as a by-product. Wastewater reused in the garden needs to be disposed of or stored when it is not required during periods of high rainfall. If storage is not an option, excess wastewater can be directed to a sewer in an urban area. In rural areas with enough space, subsurface disposal to a trench in the garden is recommended. Storage maximises the usefulness of wastewater but it needs to be treated and disinfected before storage.

In homes with access to a reliable rainwater supply, it is generally more economical just to use greywater outdoors and rainwater indoors. However, if you are unable to collect enough rainwater, treated greywater can reliably reduce indoor water use.


Appropriately treated greywater can be reused for toilet flushing and clothes washing, which are two of the biggest users of water in an average household see Reducing water demand. Reusing treated greywater for toilet flushing can save approximately 50L of potable water in an average household every day.

Reusing treated greywater in a clothes washer can save approximately 90L of potable water in an average household every day. A greywater treatment and disinfection system, approved in your state, must be installed to reuse greywater indoors for toilet flushing and clothes washing. These systems give a suitable level of treatment and meet local regulations.

NOTE: Wastewater from the kitchen sink and dishwasher can be classed as greywater but requires more complex treatment before reuse. Many states in Australia do not allow water from kitchens to be included in greywater for reuse, and permit greywater only from showers, hand basins and laundries. Greywater can be directly diverted from the shower or bathroom sink for toilet flushing as long as it is used immediately and not stored for more than 24 hours before reuse or disposal to sewer. It requires coarse filtration.

Dissolved organic material in greywater reused for washing clothes may discolour clothing. An activated carbon filter can overcome this problem. A number of proprietary on-site greywater treatment systems are available for purchase in Australia. Your council or state health department can advise which are accredited for use in your area. The treatment processes may employ biological, chemical or mechanical means.

Reclaimed water - Washington State Department of Ecology

The qualities of treated water they produce can vary considerably, as can their initial cost and energy consumption. With council approval, it is possible to build your own biological treatment system for greywater treatment. Contact your state, territory or local government for further information on wastewater reuse: www.

Guidelines for recycled water in Australia. Booker, N. Greywater and blackwater treatment strategies. Environment design guide, TEC Australian Institute of Architects, Melbourne. Urban greywater design and installation handbook. McQuire, S. Water not down the drain: a guide to using rainwater and greywater at home. Alternative Technology Association, Melbourne.

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  • National Water Commission. Requirements for installation of rainwater and greywater systems in Australia. Waterlines Report Series No Standards Australia. HB — Urban greywater installation handbook for single households. Water Sensitive Urban Design Program. Windblad, U and Simpson-Hebert, M eds. Ecological sanitation, 2nd edn. Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden.

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    Wastewater reuse

    You can deactivate them using your browser's cookie settings. SUEZ uses this cookie to analyse your browsing and measure the website's audience. The button below allows you to deactivate or reactivate this cookie at any time. Wastewater is produced by human activity and has a direct impact on the natural environment into which it is discharged, whether it is treated or not.

    Suggested Water Recycling Treatment and Uses

    The responsible management of the increasing volumes of wastewater represents a genuine sanitary and environmental challenge for all the players involved local authorities, operators, etc. Efficient treatment solutions exist, including the possible reuse of treated wastewater. Your challenges Reducing the impact of wastewater on the environment and health A growing population, urbanisation and new modes of production and consumption are all producing more and more wastewater, which has become a genuine issue for public health and for the environment.