Management of Recycled Water Quality in the Urban Environment

Jennifer Higgins, University, My, Jan Warnken
A rapid expansion in use of recycled water in urban Australia has occurred over the last decade, prompted mainly by a reduction in water supplies due to drought, increasing awareness of the impact of climate change on water resources and changes in government water recycling policies. This expansion has resulted in a 117% increase Australia wide in the reuse of effluent from wastewater treatment plants by major water authorities. This study describes the developments in recycled water quality,
more » ... rom 1999 to 2009, during its progress from 'treated effluent', to 'reclaimed water', to 'recycled water' and then to 'purified recycled water'. The developments studied include changes in people's concerns about recycled water quality, changes in the benchmarks of water quality, as described in water recycling guidelines and effluent discharge licences, and changes in recycled water quality during storage in open ponds. This study also describes preliminary investigations into a novel approach, of applying a microbial source tracking technique, to follow changes in water quality during conventional wastewater treatment processes and storage in open ponds. Concerns about recycled water quality were examined by distributing a questionnaire in mid-2000 to providers and users of recycled water in Queensland. Four out of five respondents had concerns about aspects of recycled water quality including microbiological components (viruses, parasites and bacteria), salinity related components, aggregate components (pH and solids), nutrients and organic components (pesticides and endocrine disruptors). One in four respondents expressed concern about quality variability, particularly those from low population density areas. One in five users had observed quality changes during distribution to the point-of-use including nutrients, chlorine, suspended solids, colour and odour. Half of the providers and one in five users in 2000 proposed to expand their usage of recycled water in the near future and one third of the non-user respondents [...]
doi:10.25904/1912/1707 fatcat:honjgrdkzbh65psbh4wrtna4pe