Stormwater recycling scheme gets underway in Sydney

Thursday, 06 September, 2018

Stormwater recycling scheme gets underway in Sydney

Australia’s largest urban stormwater recycling scheme has been switched on in the City of Sydney’s newest town centre, Green Square, enabling thousands of residents to save tens of thousands of litres of precious drinking water.

Up to 320 million litres of polluted stormwater will be diverted from waterways each year as part of the $8 million scheme, before being treated and piped directly into residential, commercial and community buildings. Up to 900,000 litres of treated stormwater will be provided daily for use in washing machines, to flush toilets, and in parks and gardens.

“Once this scheme is up and running, we expect the area’s consumption of drinking water will be reduced by half — a significant saving during this current drought,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“Not only will we be saving water, but reducing costs as well — it’s expected water bills will be cut for residents and businesses by 10 cents a kilolitre.

Positioned above a major stormwater flow path, the Green Square town centre is an ideal location for a recycled stormwater scheme. Stormwater will be harvested from the 2 km drain that runs underground from Epsom Road in Zetland to Alexandra Canal and pumped into a treatment plant at the former South Sydney Hospital site on Joynton Avenue.

The water will be treated by a combination of high-tech ‘ultrafiltration’, which removes solids and pathogens, and ‘reverse osmosis’, which reduces its salt concentration, before being sent to two 500,000-litre underground storage tanks. From there, the recycled water will be distributed around the town centre via a network of purpose-built purple pipes.

The scheme has been built by sustainable water utility Flow Systems and will be operated by Green Square Water. Existing residential and City-owned buildings are already connected to the scheme, and new buildings throughout the area will be connected as they are completed.

“Growing populations and high-density living calls for an increased demand for water, not only to drink but to flush toilets, wash clothes, water gardens and irrigate parks,” Moore noted.

“By treating polluted water so it can be used again, we are able to conserve our previous water supplies and prevent polluted water from flowing into our waterways.

“As well as providing recycled water to our community and cultural precinct, and the City West affordable housing development, residential buildings will also be connected to the network — which means for the first time in Australia, residents will be able to move into their new apartments and use recycled stormwater from their taps.

“It’s a win-win for the community and the environment — combating the effects of our changing climate, improving stormwater quality across our city and helping residents and businesses manage water prices.”

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