Recycled water is wastewater that has been treated to remove contaminants.
Wastewater from homes and businesses is treated so it can be used safely for certain purposes.
By safely irrigating recycled water, sustainable development can be achieved while conserving our high quality water supplies.
Access to alternative safe water sources is important in times of drought (and pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus can be beneficial for irrigation).
Treated recycled water can be used for:
- irrigating agricultural crops, parks, gardens, golf courses
- dust control on industrial sites
- industrial cooling
- non-potable household uses (toilet flushing, laundry and garden)
Water recycling is becoming an important part of managing our water resources.
Council has been recycling water since the 1980s. The amount of water recycled in the Tweed has increased over the last decade.
Around 6% of treated wastewater is reused in the Tweed, in line with the Australian average of about 5-7%
Maximising recycled water use is a key action in Council's Integrated Water Cycle Management and Demand Management strategies.
Is recycled water safe?
Yes. Recycled water is treated to a high standard to make sure it's fit for purpose. Recycled water schemes are approved by regulatory authorities and ongoing monitoring and reporting is required.
Recycled water projects
Recycled water projects involve planning, studies, testing and consultation. Click the projects below for details.
Barry Sheppard Oval and Round Mountain Pony Club
Recycling: Up to 200ML/annum
Status: Under consideration, pending outcome of trials at the Les Burger Field, Bogangar.
Burringbar and Mooball Reuse Scheme
Recycling: Up to 20ML/annum
Status: Community consultation and the review of environmental factors were completed in 2007.
Implementation is possible once the planned new Sewage Treatment Plant is operating.
Chinderah Ti Tree Plantation
Recycling: Up to 950ML/annum.
Status: Originally linked by private pipeline to the old Kingscliff sewage treatment plant. A link to the new treatment plant is under consideration.
Information: Recycled Water Final Options Report 2006(PDF, 7MB)
Condong Co-generation Facility
Recycling: Up to 584ML/annum.
Status: Operating since 2007.
Information: Council has an agreement with Delta Electricity and Sunshine Sugar for the supply of recycled water for a Cogeneration Facility at Condon Mill. The recycled water is for cooling tower water and boiler feed make up, and uses all average dry weather flow from the Murwillumbah Sewage Treatment Plant.
Coolangatta Tweed Heads Golf Club
Status: Operating since 1987
Information: The Golf Club installed its own pump equipment and pipeline from the Banora Point treatment plant to the golf course site. The current agreement with the Golf Club is for the provision of up to 2 Megalitres of recycled water per day for irrigation purposes. This equates to approximately 10 per cent of the total production from Banora Point Sewage Treatment Plant.
Cugden Banana Farm
In the late 1980's a small size pipe and pump was installed to transport recycled water from Kingscliff Sewage Treatment Plant to a Banana Farm at Cudgen. This system was used for some years but was later abandoned by the owners.
Hastings Point Dune Revegetation
Irrigation of a small dunal revegetation area with recycled water was investigated in 1998. This use of nutrient-rich recycled water was opposed by a local conservation group representative as the natural vegetation cover in this area is dry heath, not rainforest species. Potable water was used instead for this project.
Kingscliff Recycled Water Scheme
Recycling: Up to 180ML/annum
Status: The concept design and economic assessments were completed in 2005.
This is currently under consideration and will be revisited once the staging of future development in the West Kingscliff area becomes clearer.
Information: Kingscliff Recycled Water Scheme 2005(PDF, 5MB)
Includes Jack Bayliss Park, Reg Dalton Oval, Walter Peat Reserve, Kingscliff Bowls Club, Cudgen Leagues Club, Kingscliff southern foreshore, Kingscliff TAFE and High School, agricultural areas and market gardens west of Kingscliff and south of Cudgen respectively, open space watering at Salt, Casuarina and Kings Forest developments.
Kingscliff Turf Farm
The establishment of a turf farm utilising recycled water from the old adjacent Kingscliff treatment plant was investigated in 1997. As a sustainable project which provided effective use of the recycled water, Council prepared a development application, received development approval and awarded a Contract to install the irrigation system. Following development approval there were some objections from adjoining landholders which eventually led to an appeal in the Land and Environment Court which Council lost. A decision was made to eventually relocate the STP site and following community pressure the Turf Farm venture was not pursued further.
Les Burger Field, Bogangar
Recycling: Up to 55KL/day
Status: Community consultation, design, review of environmental factors and management plan complete.
Development Approval has been granted, however delays have been experienced with additional approvals from other government departments required under Section 60 of the Local Government Act.
Information: This has been identified in the Recycled Water Opportunities Report as one site where the use of recycled water could be appropriate.
Les Burger Field has been operating an irrigation system with potable water for approximately 10 years and by substituting recycled water at the ground, the water savings will be the equivalent to supplying water to 230 new homes (240kl/property per annum).
Murwillumbah Sports Fields
The Murwillumbah Recycled Water Irrigation Study was conducted in 1994. Two areas were identified near the Murwillumbah Sewage Treatment Plant namely cane land and sporting fields. Subsequent investigations concluded that the agricultural soils are heavy and are not favourable for irrigation. These flows have since been diverted to the Condong Co-generation Facility.
Tumbulgum Sugar Cane Irrigation
Recycling: Up to 70KL/day
Status: Operating since 1999, when Council installed an irrigation system for sugar cane on Council land using recycled water from the Tumbulgum sewage treatment plant. It has since been transferred to a fresh produce grower on the adjoining property.
Turf Farm at Round Mountain Road
Status: Opportunity currently being investigated
Tweed Heads South Industrial Area
Status: Preliminary studies yet to be conducted
Information: There is potential for recycled water from Banora Point sewage treatment plant to be piped via a ring main to the existing industrial estate. This would require the plant to be upgraded.
Tyalgum Eucalyptus Tree Plantation for Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Status: The concept design is underway. With work expected to commence in 2014.
Information: Given the success of the scheme at Uki, Council and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary are investigating carrying out similar works at Tyalgum to provide additional Koala fodder.
Tyalgum Pasture Irrigation
Recycling: Up to 25ML/annum.
Status: Operating since 1987
Information: The recycled water from the Tyalgum Treatment Plant is used to irrigate adjacent pastures. With an average daily flow of 50 kilolitres, approximately 95 per cent of the plant’s production is used.
Uki Eucalyptus Tree Plantation for Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Recycling: Up to 9ML/annum
Status: The Uki Sewerage scheme was commissioned in 2004.
A 10 Megalitre wet weather effluent storage dam was constructed to limit discharges to the adjoining creek to extreme wet weather events only.
Information: Over 99 per cent of the recycled water produced by the plant is used for irrigating eucalyptus trees in a joint venture with Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, where the trees are harvested by the sanctuary for koala food.
The residential area and industrial estates in West Kingscliff have been identified as areas for potential future development. Further investigations are required in these areas to determine suitability.