In Australia, we have traditionally used the drinking water stored in our dams for drinking, washing and cooking. We also use it for things like flushing our toilets, washing our cars and watering the garden. These activities do not require such pure water.
If there is a limited supply of drinking water, recycled water is really useful, it can be used for gardens, and for flushing toilets. Saving the more ‘valuable’ drinking water for personal.
There are different classes of recycled water, depending on how it has been treated.
In Australia the guidelines for treating water are set and monitored by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and the Department of Health.
Class A recycled water is the highest quality of recycled water in Australia. It is suitable for non-drinking domestic use such as clothes washing, toilet flushing, garden watering and firefighting. It is delivered to your home through a separate purple pipe system, which is usually installed when the house is being built. The taps have removable handles to prevent accidental drinking of the water.
It cannot be used for drinking, cooking food, showering or filling swimming pools.
Class B recycled water can be used for watering sports fields, golf courses and cattle grazing land. It has restrictions around humans coming in contact with it.
Class C recycled water can be used on food crops that are cooked and/or processed such as wine grapes or olives. It can also be used for food crops that are eaten raw, so long as the crop is over a metre above the ground, such as apples.
Class D recycles water has the least treatment of all and can only be used for non-food crops such as flowers.
Singapore is leading the way with what we do with recycled water and waste-water (sewage). Singapore has a much more advanced treatment processes, so much so that they even drink their recycled water, called Newater.
The purification process involves passing sewage through a microfiltration and reverse osmosis process and using ultra-violet light to sterilise it. Newater is even more pure than Singapore’s other regular drinking water.
Would you drink water made from recycled sewage?