The 4350water Blog highlights some of the issues relating to proposals for potable reuse in Toowoomba and South East Qld. 4350water blog looks at related political issues as well.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Recycled water - giving 1 person in 1000 the sh*ts ...

- analysis of secondary treated sewage showed it could contain more than 500 chemicals, including pharmaceuticals, hormones, fragrances, pesticides, disinfectants and dioxins

- draft guidelines recommend using recycled water with a "tolerable risk" - an annual risk of one case of diarrhoea per 1000 people

- maximum allowable level of pharmaceuticals in recycled water would be 100th the lowest daily dose of that normally prescribed by a doctor.

- for cancer-causing compounds and steroid hormones - maximum of 1,000th the normal dose.

Anyone wondering about the impact of the combination of all those 100th and 1,0000th normal doses?

And an annual risk of 1 in 1000 getting the sh*ts. That's around 100 people per annum in Toowoomba. Hope they're Yes voters.

Excerpt from the Sydney Morning Herald:

Recycled sewage closer to tap, within limits

3 August 2007

Drinking recycled sewage has moved a step closer with the drafting of what are said to be the world's first national guidelines to establish standards for recycled water quality.

The draft guidelines published yesterday by the National Health and Medical Research Council provide a crucial advance in the development of recycling, water industry executives say.

A water-quality expert, David Cunliffe, said one of the significant barriers to informed discussion had been the lack of national or international guidelines on recycled water.

Dr Cunliffe, who headed the expert panel that produced the guidelines, said analysis of secondary treated sewage showed it could contain more than 500 chemicals, including pharmaceuticals, hormones, fragrances, pesticides, disinfectants and dioxins.

Extracting potable water from sewage required the removal of harmful parasites such as cryptosporidium and pathogenic bacteria and viruses, thousands of which were present in just one litre of sewage.

The draft guidelines recommend that water with a "tolerable risk", using World Health Organisation standards, should be that posing an annual risk of one case of diarrhoea per 1000 people.

The maximum allowable level of pharmaceuticals in recycled water would be one-hundredth the lowest daily dose of that normally prescribed by a doctor, and for cancer-causing compounds and steroid hormones one-thousandth the normal dose.

The standards are expected to be applied to two water recycling projects already under way or being planned in Queensland and the ACT.

Dr Cunliffe said the guidelines showed it was possible to produce safe drinking water from recycled sewage. "These guidelines show recycling water will be a big challenge. They don't make it any easier," he told the Herald. But they did provide an achievable basis for recycling water, he said.

The guidelines were a significant advance on five years ago, when the idea of recycling was hardly discussed. "Where recycling will go now in terms of volumes I cannot predict," he said.

A water supply executive, Peter Donlon, said the guidelines were a crucial development.
With the impact of water shortages being felt throughout Australia, governments would inevitably have to consider the option of recycling, he said.

However, Mr Donlon, the technical director of the Water Services Association of Australia - which represents the biggest water utilities - joined others in expressing concern about the lack of competent staff to provide round-the-clock supervision of complex technologies in which a breakdown could have disastrous, even fatal, consequences.

The Australian draft guidelines had drawn keen interest from overseas, Mr Donlon said.

Peter Collignon, a microbiologist who had criticised ACT plans for water recycling, welcomed the guidelines, although he said he would like to see more specific provisions to deal with issues such as how long the recycled water should be stored before being released into the system.

Professor Collignon also expressed concern about the presence of allergy-causing contaminants in recycled water that were hard to identify and contain but that could trigger serious problems for a small percentage of people.

See - Recycled water guidelines.

Interesting that the draft guidelines have drawn keen interest from overseas. Weren't we told it was already done everywhere ...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take 1/1000 of the RDI of 85000 potential chemicals and what you have is poison, not water. This is not a quality guideline, this is a horror story!

10:36 AM, August 03, 2007

Anonymous voter said...

Those who get sick can be comforted by the fact that they are the people the government feels are a tolerable risk.

11:21 AM, August 03, 2007

Blogger artfuldodger1 said...

I listened with total dismay today to the Local ABC after 4.15pm where the presenter David.... expressed the view that most Australians accept the reality of now having to drink recycled water.

The chairman of the report was interviewed - saying amongst other things that nothing had zero risk -the drinking of the water was based on 2 litres per person per day (I always thought that we were told to drink much more than this) - the whole thing is based on a risk management approach.

Agreed totally with presenter that many countries overseas were drinking recycled water (not one was named)and apparently none of those have any regulations for the drinking of recycled water ( very strange)

This same presenter also appeared to think that fighting amagamation was a waste of time and effort - what has Australia become? - democracy has been thrown overboard by dictatorships and we are no better than most third world countries.

4:56 PM, August 03, 2007

Blogger Concerned Ratepayer said...

Done all over the world.

And now the rest of the world are fascinated that Australia is preparing recycled water guidelines.

Something doesn't add up ...

8:32 PM, August 03, 2007

Blogger Greg said...

I would love to know the IQ of that David person you are talking about artfuldoger1. Perhaps he should undertake a test and let all the listeners know his score and give feedback. He obviously is quite dumb or out of touch with the real Australia if he thinks most Ausies accept having to drink recycled water. My daughter was at a large wedding in Brisbane last week and everyone there was against it and they were also crabby at Toowoomba for starting the whole charade. It was a case of Oh your from Poowoomba the people who started this drink recycled effluent crap.

5:49 PM, August 04, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Greg, I hope the Brisbane people were told that the Toowoomba people fought NOT to have recycled sewage water in the their drinking supplies!

The Brisbane community should all get a back bone and do the same thing. People power is the only way to stop Beattie.

8:18 PM, August 04, 2007

Anonymous voter said...

Just say NO.

9:59 PM, August 04, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really is now a case of a State Government doing its damndest with the help of out of touch bureaucrats to almost destroy the fabric of society - only a change of State Government - could stop the water and amalgamation. This Smart State is careering out of orbit - Also be careful of Kevin Rudd - he could have put a stop to this - it is all happening in Qld under his guard as a Labor Party master

12:21 AM, August 05, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have an idea for the gardening problem...
I am from North QLD and doing a report on the drought down south.
This idea might not help but i just thought of it.
How about if people don't want to drink recycled water, use the water for the gardens, but with the taps have a sign saying RECYCLED WATER DO NOT DRINK UNLESS U WANT TO or something...
That is my idea.

8:21 PM, August 06, 2007

Blogger Concerned Ratepayer said...

If the Toowoomba City Council had proposed that idea rather than trying to force people to drink recycled water while planning to pour bore water on the city's parks and gardens, it would have been readily accepted.

9:01 PM, August 06, 2007


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