Wastewater recycling expanding in the Hunter region

Hunter Water has increased wastewater recycling at a number of its Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW) and plans to expand this program to other WWTW to keep up with the increasing demand for recycled water.

The rate of wastewater recycling has risen in the last year, with more than 10 per cent of the wastewater generated in 2017 reused for a range of industrial, agricultural and civic purposes across the region — the highest amount to be recycled in more than two decades.

In 2017–18, a total of 6454ML of water was recycled, helping to conserve resources by reducing demand on the Lower Hunter’s drinking water supplies.

Hunter Water has a range of recycled water schemes in place, which supply high-quality treated wastewater to large commercial customers for industrial use, as well as local golf clubs and farmers for irrigation.

Hunter Water’s Sustainable Wastewater Program Director, David Derkenne, said there are a number of benefits of recycled water.

“One of the main advantages of recycled water is that it’s largely unaffected by weather, meaning it’s a reliable water source that can be accessed all year round, even during dry conditions.

“Hunter Water is proud to have recycled more than 10 per cent of wastewater generated last year. Industrial reuse, through initiatives like the Kooragang Industrial Water Scheme, was the biggest contributor, with 3379ML reused.

“We have also increased recycling at a number of our Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW) through the potable water substitution program. This will be expanded to include Burwood, Belmont and Boulder Bay WWTW, and is estimated to save an additional 140ML of drinking water each year.

“Hunter Water has a long history of using recycled water. We’re continually looking for more sustainable and innovative ways to do that, because every litre reused is a litre of drinking water saved,” Mr Derkenne said.

In a further boost to the region’s drinking water supplies, Hunter Water will soon begin supplying recycled water to customers in Chisholm and Gillieston Heights for a range of non-potable uses including flushing toilets, watering gardens and washing clothes.

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