Using recycled water for non-drinking purposes makes our drinking water supplies go further.
Water recycling involves treating and reusing wastewater or grey water in homes, industry, irrigation and agriculture. The key role of recycled water in the Lower Hunter Water Plan is to reduce the demand for drinking water. Using recycled water for non-drinking purposes makes the drinking water supply go further. The plan does not propose recycling water for drinking water purposes.
The Kooragang Recycled Water Scheme (KRWS) is the latest addition to recycling in the lower Hunter. The $71M scheme was opened in November 2014, delivering highly treated recycled water to Orica’s Kooragang Island site for industrial use.
The process starts when raw sewage is treated at the Shortland wastewater treatment plant. The treated wastewater is then pumped to an advanced water treatment plant at Steel River where it passes through microfiltration and reverse osmosis to remove suspended solids, bacteria, viruses and dissolved salts. The plant can produce up to 9 million litres of recycled water per day, equivalent to the amount of water used by approximately 20,000 homes.
Recycled water is pumped to Orica’s Kooragang Island site via an eight-kilometre pipeline which crosses under the Hunter River. Orica used to be Hunter Water’s largest customer for drinking water, and will drop to around 19th position by substituting recycled water for industrial processes.
Recycled water is also used in the lower Hunter for industry, irrigation and agriculture, as well as on-site use at wastewater treatment plants. As development proceeds, dual reticulation schemes in new developments at Chisholm and Gillieston Heights will provide recycled water to about 1000 properties.
In future, private sector suppliers are likely to play a bigger role in providing water supply, wastewater, and recycled water services to new developments, particularly in areas remote from urban centres. Examples include new developments at Wyee and Huntlee.