Recycled water on demand
CAIRNS Regional Council is yet to sign up a commercial customer for its $5 million recycled water project.
Only the council-controlled Mossman cemetery has been confirmed as a user of the recycled water when it becomes available next year, with other council assets likely to be added.
Council’s Water and Waste manager Bruce Gardiner said treated wastewater has traditionally been dumped into the ocean and can potentially have a harmful effect on marine water quality and ecosystems.
“Treating the wastewater to a higher quality will not only reduce environmental impacts, it will also mean the water can be used for a range of non- drinking and non-contact uses and help conserve our drinking water supplies,” Mr Gardiner said.
Recycled water is treated wastewater sourced from a wastewater treatment plant that has already been used in homes and businesses for showers, toilets, laundry, kitchen and industrial uses.
“This recycled water is treated to different qualities depending on its intended use,” Mr Gardiner said.
“The recycled water supplied from the Mossman Wastewater Treatment Plant will be treated to the level of Class A quality in accordance with state water quality guidelines.”
The use of recycled water reduces the demand on the com- munity’s drinking water supplies and reduces the amount of treated wastewater discharged to the ocean and rivers.
“Establishing new water supplies such as building new dams or extracting more water from rivers, such as the Rex River where the Mossman and Port Douglas supply comes from, can have significant environmental and social impacts, so by recycling we can also help to delay the need for new drinking water supplies,” Mr Gardiner said. “Recycled water is safe and does not pose a health risk if used properly and rigorous monitoring, testing and quality assurance systems are in place to ensure the recycled water meets strict environmental and health guidelines.”
Class A recycled water can be used for a range of uses from industrial and agricultural, landscape irrigation and irrigation of food crops but the Class A recycled water supplied by the Mossman treatment plant will only be used for outdoor irrigation.
Irrigation will only take place during restricted hours mainly at night time or early mornings. All irrigation systems will be underground with either pop up sprinklers or a sub-surface dripper system, and there will be no recycled water access points such as external taps.
There will be signs placed in obvious locations in areas using recycled water notifying the public that the water is not for drinking.