Recycled water is sewage, greywater and/or stormwater that is treated and reused for non-potable purposes.
All forms of household wastewater are infectious, and a potential risk to human health and the environment. When managed properly through sewage treatment processes, wastewater can be recycled and used in a safe and environmentally sustainable way.
There are three types of household wastewater:
- Blackwater: which is generated from a toilet, heavily contaminated with human faeces or urine, may contain solid material such as toilet paper, and is highly infectious.
- Greywater: is waster water from a hand basin, shower, laundry, or kitchen. It is often contaminated with human faeces, dirt, etc, but is less contaminated, and therefore less infectious, than blackwater
- Sewage: is a combination of blackwater and greywater. It is very infectious.
Wastewater disposal includes:
- Centralised disposal through pipes to a sewage treatment plant for selective reuse (in line with the Australian guidelines for water recycling).
- On-site sewage management systems where sewage and greywater is treated on approved properties. On-site sewage management is regulated jointly by local councils and NSW Health, and on-site sewage management systems must be approved by Council before installation.
When treated effectively, wastewater can be recycled for uses such as watering recreation facilities and irrigation. The treated effluent may also be discharged to rivers and oceans.
In line with NSW Health Department guidelines, all recycled wastewater goes through a ‘Tertiary’ treatment process to ensure it meets Australian standards. In Eurobodalla:
- recycled water is used to irrigate the golf clubs at Moruya, Catalina, and Tuross, and Riverside Park in Moruya
- recycled water is used at sewage treatment plants to wash down equipment
- sludge, a by-product of treated sewage, is composted to make a soil improver.
Keeping our estuaries pristine
Estuaries are one of the most important natural assets in the Eurobodalla and support many diverse ecosystems including mangroves, salt marshes, sea grasses and sandy shoals. Our estuaries are highly productive places and provide spawning and nursery areas for fish and breeding and foraging areas for birds. They need to be kept pristine as they are a vital part of our Integrated Water Cycle Management Plan.
Our five major estuaries are Batemans Bay/Clyde, Tomaga, Moruya/Deua, Tuross/Coila and Narooma/Wagonga.
Monitoring the quality of our beaches
To determine whether water quality is safe for swimming, the Beachwatch program is undertaken every year from the start of November to the end of March.
Pollution Incident Response Management Plans
Council has completed Pollution Incident Response Management Plans (PIRMPs) for Batemans Bay, Tomakin, Moruya, Tuross and Narooma sewage treatment plants to comply with the requirements introduced in the Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Act 2011 (POELA Act).
Under the POELA Act, the section within the PIRMPs that cover procedures for contacting the relevant authorities and procedures for communicating with the community must be made publically available.