Water recycling is a necessary activity to ensure effective management of water resources. As water demands across the country increase the availability of quality sources from water recycling also needs to increase. Sewage treatment plants can provide reliable, high quality, cost effective treated effluent: something that is recognised in the industry as of growing importance. In order to manage this and ensure long-term supplies of recycled water, each state in Australia has legislation in place to enforce responsible water management and recycling.
Understanding these environmental regulations is crucial in providing a sustainable water supply that is reliable, safe and has low impact to the environment. This also applies to non-primary sources of water. For example, being able to access alternative safe water sources is particularly critical in times of drought. By providing an additional source of non-potable water, recycling can help to decrease the diversion of water from sensitive river and wetland ecosystems.
By ensuring the environmental regulations are met for recycled or treated effluent, users can minimise wastewater discharges of poor quality to natural waterways. When pollutant discharges to waterways are removed or reduced, the pollutant loadings to these waters are decreased. Substances that can be pollutants when discharged to waterways can be beneficially reused for irrigation. For example, plant nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus can stimulate harmful algal blooms in waterways but are a valuable fertiliser for crops.
MAK Water understands state specific environmental guidelines and regulations for the reuse of treated effluent. The MAK Water design team works to provide customised solutions for each site’s requirements to ensure waste water is treated to provide “fit-for-purpose” effluent quality compliant with environmental guidelines.
What are the risks to the environment if we don’t recycle sewage / wastewater properly?
The most significant environmental impact arising from wastewater treatment and the main focus for the regulator is generally the quality of effluent discharged and its effects on the environment. Minimising the impacts and how they are managed will shape any permit / licence by specifying the level of treatment required and any additional discharge conditions.
Untreated or poorly treated sewage contains high levels of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), phosphorous and nitrogen that can be poisonous if released to the ground or waterway, potentially harming downstream waterways, flora and fauna. Anyone wanting to discharge treated effluent will require an environmental license approval. When reviewing the licence the local regulator will look at the potential impact on the local environment. The level of treatment required will depend on these environmental conditions and the practicality from both a cost and use perspective of re-using the treated effluent.
State specific information is available for determining the level of environmental risk and regulations for disposal / reuse. The expected end use needs to be considered to determine the potential level of exposure for the end user and environmental risk. Common end uses for recycled water are presented in the links included at the bottom of the page.
Have you got your Recycled Water Management Plan in order?
MAK Water is experienced in preparing a site specific Recycled Water Management Plan (RWMP), which is required to obtain approval from local health authorities for the reuse of treated effluent. The purpose of a RWMP is to protect public health, and to ensure that critical recycled water schemes continue to operate. This document is required to obtain approval from local health authorities for the reuse of treated effluent.
What can MAK Water do?
MAK Water has over 25 years’ of experience in the design, manufacture and maintenance of sewage treatment plants and can supply a system exactly tailored to your needs.
MAK Water works collaboratively with each client to review site specific requirements and define the best treatment process in order to ensure regulations are met. Whatever the requirement is, we have a solution ready to implement.
MAK Water designs and manufactures a wide range of technologies used for sewage treatment, including:
- Activated Sludge Bioreactor (ASBR)
- Activated Sludge Bioreactor Plus (ASBR+)
- Membrane Bioreactors (MBR)
- Moving Bed Bioreactors (MBBR)
- Packaged Sewage Pump Station (PSPS)
- Salsnes Fine Screen Filter (SFSF)
- REKO Internally Fed Drum Screens
View our project experience here.
Matthew Stevens, MAK Water Technical Sales Manager
Reference / Further Information:
- Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling
- Water quality guidelines for recycled water schemes, QLD Government
- Recycled Water Management Systems, NSW Government
- Environmental guidelines – Use of Effluent by Irrigation, NSW Government
- Guidelines for Environmental Management – Use of Reclaimed Water, VIC Government
- Guidelines for the Non-potable Uses of Recycled Water in Western Australia, WA Government
- South Australian Reclaimed Water Guidelines, SA Government
- ACT Environment and Health Wastewater Reuse Guidelines, ACT Government
- Environmental Guidelines for the Use of Recycled Water in Tasmania, TAS Government
- Guidelines for Wastewater Works Design Approval of Recycled Water System, NT Government