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Can I reuse treated wastewater?

Recycling Wastewater in Homes

Water is a precious resource and considering the shortage of water and drought conditions prevalent in Australia, it is important to conserve, reuse, and recycle water as much as possible.

In case you are wondering what happens to the treated wastewater and if it is safe to be used in home, you are the right place. In this article, we discuss the types of wastewater, what happens to the treated wastewater and hacks to conserve water.

Types of Wastewater

Wastewater is classified as :

Greywater

It is the wastewater that comes from the bathroom, washing machines, bathtubs and sinks. It has a low level of contaminants and it is easy to treat and can be reused.

Blackwater

It consists of wastewater from our toilets, kitchens and dishwashers. This water consists of pathogens, urine and fecal waste.

As it has high concentrations of pathogens and organic matter, it can lead to disease - it is highly polluted and shouldn’t be reused. Treatment with biological and chemical processes as well as disinfection is required to purify the blackwater.

Sewage

Combination of both greywater and blackwater. It is contaminated and highly infectious as it has disease carrying pathogens.

Reuse Wastewater in homes

What happens to the treated wastewater?

The treated water from a home sewage treatment plant is disposed of in absorption trenches or leach field on your property. It can be also used to irrigate the garden via the sub-surface application. Wastewater treated to secondary can be reused for sub-surface irrigation whereas water treated to advanced-secondary quality can be used for surface and subsurface irrigation or flushing toilets.

Can I reuse treated wastewater?

The current legislation in Australian states and territories prevent the reuse of water from an HSTP. It is not suitable to reuse wastewater in your home as there is a high risk of contamination if your equipment fails or if you haven’t had it serviced regularly.

The risk doesn’t justify the benefits of reusing the water.

6 Hacks to Conserve Water

Although you cannot do much from the treated wastewater due to its potential risks, there are still some ways to reuse or conserve water in your household.

  1. Take shorter showers and collect the shower water in a bucket to use it in your garden or when washing cars.
  2. Collect rainwater in a tank and use it to water plants, flushing toilets, laundry, car washing etc.
  3. Instead of using a hose to wash your car, use a bucket so less water is used. If you are using a hose, wash the car near the garden or on the grass so it can be used to irrigate the lawn.
  4. Reuse unused drinking water to wash your utensils or wash vegetables/fruits and watering plants.
  5. Install water-conserving plumbing fixtures like showerheads, toilet sink combos, and water efficient taps to save more water.
  6. Reuse water used in cooking such as boiling eggs or cooking pasta in gardening (allow to cool first).

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