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.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Toowoomba Regional Council announces recycled water scheme changes ...

Changes recommended to council’s recycled water schemes

9 March 2009

The current review of Council’s water recycling schemes will mean changes to some treated effluent reuse schemes already in place in the region.

The schemes are being reviewed to ensure they meet new regulatory standards while also making the most of the environmental benefits of treated effluent re-use.

Changes under the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act of 2008 and the Public Health Amendment Regulation (No. 1) of 2008, coupled with EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) requirements have necessitated changes to some schemes in the region.

Water Services portfolio leader Cr Paul Antonio said the region’s future growth could only be guaranteed by reducing demand through water conservation practices and securing a sustainable water supply.

“The pipeline connection from Wivenhoe Dam to Cressbrook Dam will guarantee a secure water supply to 2051. The pipeline is currently being built and will deliver potable water to us by March 2010.

“In addition, council is reviewing 13 different recycled water schemes that operate across the region. We need to ensure they comply with the new regulations and meet our objective of maximising treated effluent reuse in a safe, economic and environmentally sound way,” Cr Antonio said.

“Council presently has committed 65 percent of its treated wastewater for recycling in a variety of industrial, mining, agricultural, sporting, construction and domestic uses.

“Our largest water recycling scheme will see the supply to New Acland Coal Mine from June this year, of 3,000ML of high quality Class A+ recycled water from Wetalla Water Reclamation Facility.

“This project, along with the existing supply of 1,000ML to Millmerran Power Station and 400ML to New Wave Leathers, will provide a potential revenue stream of between $4.85m and $8.6m per year, as supply to the mine increases to full supply.

“This revenue will help in offsetting the expected costs of pumping water from Wivenhoe.”

Cr Antonio said there were numerous examples of parks, sporting fields, golf courses, agricultural crops and construction sites that had benefitted from the use of council’s recycled water and would continue to do so.

However, the review has recommended the purple pipe, dual reticulation schemes in Highfields, Westbrook and Oakey be discontinued due to unforeseen public health and compliance concerns.

“Discontinuation of the Highfields scheme will impact on the 80 householders who purchased blocks in Trevean Gardens Estate.

“While the original purpose of the purple pipe, dual reticulation scheme was to offer a ‘green’ alternative, changes to regulations since the scheme was devised, now mean the scheme is unviable from both a public health and monitoring and compliance perspective.

“While rainwater tanks will remain a mandatory requirement of new housing blocks, they will not have to be placed underground, as they were in Trevean Gardens.

“It is recommended the dual reticulation system installed but not connected to blocks in Oakey and Westbrook be discontinued for similar reasons.

“There are very few sustainable dual reticulation/purple pipe systems around Australia that supply domestic or commercial/industrial uses.”

Cr Antonio said all future alternative water supply options including water recycling schemes, would be judged according to a benefit-cost model and rational analysis.

“Obviously council will continue to encourage households to reduce their demand on potable supplies through the installation of rainwater tanks, water conservation and the use of water wise appliances.

“Any new scheme must add up. Ultimately we need to consider how these all fit in with the total water supply system and take a long term view, based on what happens when the drought breaks and our storage dams are replenished.”


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