Water Recycling In Australia

It could be assumed that due to successful examples, the idea of water recycling would be picked up easily in other regions with similar water supply problems, in the Middle East, Asia, northern Africa, the southwest USA, and Australia. However, public perception is still problematic, impeding new initiatives. This was proved again in 2006 in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, where a poll to mix treated wastewater with raw surface water for drinking water production had a negative outcome. Nevertheless, other examples of water recycling can be found throughout Australia, and the debate on water recycling is probably nowhere as intense as in Australia. Recent droughts played a role in the awareness that water sources are limited [20]. A good overview of water recycling projects in the Australian context is given by Radcliffe [12].

In New South Wales, Sydney Water operates 27 sewage treatment systems collecting ca. 1300 ML/day, with 29.9 ML/day processed for reuse. In Rouse Hill, a suburb of Sydney, a third pipe scheme has been installed with treated water from the sewage treatment plant of Rouse Hill, similar to St Petersburg. Around 4.4 ML/day is treated using ozonation, microfiltration, and chlorination Fig. 5). Ozone is used because of the stronger oxidizing effect; nevertheless, microfiltration and chlorination were thought essential as well. Taps contained recycled water are purple and labeled ''Not For Drinking.'' The cost of recycled water (2003) is 28 AUS$c/m3 or 17EURc/m3, compared to 98 AUS$c/m3 or 58 EURc/m3 for potable water. The perception of customers is very positive because it is

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Figure 5 Process scheme for water recycling in Rouse Hill, New South Wales, Australia.

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Figure 5 Process scheme for water recycling in Rouse Hill, New South Wales, Australia.

understood that this project is important for a sustainable future. In addition, the economic benefits are appreciated. The consequence was an increase of 20% compared to other regions, whereas ca. 35% of the total consumption consisted of recycled water.

A similar project was carried out in the Olympic Park Sewage Treatment Plant (capacity 2.2ML/day), constructed for the Olympic Games of 2000 in Sydney. In this case, treatment consists of microfiltration and reverse osmosis, followed by chlorination. The water is distributed at a cost of 83 AUS$c/m3 in Newington, a nearby suburb. The production cost, however, is higher at AUS$ 1,60/m3, similar to Rouse Hill (AUS$ 3-4/m3).

Various other examples can be found in the Sydney area [12]. A typical application for agricultural irrigation is Gerringong-Gerroa, where secondary treatment and tertiary treatment is used comprising a biological reactor, clarification, sand filtration, ozonation, biologically activated carbon, microfiltration, and UV filtration [21]. Other examples can be found in Picton (2.4ML/day for 134 ha) and in Richmond. Furthermore, 1 ML of tertiary treated water in St. Mary is used for irrigation of a golf club. In Wollongong, the Illawarra Wastewater Strategy will involve production of high-quality recycled water (using microfiltration and reverse osmosis) for a steel factory [22].

In the Newcastle area, the picture is similar. A diagram of the various uses of recycled water (data 2003) is given in Fig. 6, and shows that the share of industrial use is larger than elsewhere. In other parts of New South Wales, numerous small-scale projects can be found.

In Victoria, 174 sewage treatment plants are in operation, involving 15 coastal discharges. Most of the plants are inland and have a high recycling ratio; however, the total volume is relatively low. In Melbourne, only 2% of 295 GL/year of effluent is reused. The total volume for Victoria is ca. 40 GL/year.

□ Process water at plant □ Recycled water enterprises

□ Process water at plant □ Recycled water enterprises

Figure 6 Relative volumes of recycled water used in Newcastle, New South Wales for different purposes.

Queensland is more or less similar, with 27,400 ML/year reuse on a total of 340,000 ML/year of effluent (8%). Other parts of Australia show the same picture, with large plants often close to and discharging into the ocean (e.g., Adelaide) and many small-scale inland recycling applications, mainly for irrigation purposes.

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