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Recycled water

Low exposure uses

In Queensland, recycled water is regulated differently depending on how the recycled water is used. Queensland Health is the primary regulator under the Public Health Act 2005 for low-exposure of recycled water, such as municipal open space irrigation, the irrigation of pasture and fodder crops, the irrigation of highly-processed food crops and non-food crops, and dust suppression.

To assist recycled water providers meet their obligations under the Public Health Act, Queensland Health has prepared a Guideline for low-exposure recycled water schemes (PDF 307 kB). This guideline recommends undertaking monthly, rolling assessments of recycled water quality. Five spreadsheets have been developed, 1 for each class of recycled water, to assist recycled water undertake these assessments:

A recycled water scheme typically comprises a recycled water provider and a user or a number of users. This means that recycled water providers are reliant on users using the recycled water appropriately to prevent issues from arising. Recycled water providers are therefore strongly encouraged to enter into formal agreements with users of recycled water to help ensure recycled water is used appropriately. To assist recycled water providers in this task, Queensland Health has developed a Model recycled water user agreement (DOCX 296 kB).

Although there is no regulatory requirement for recycled water providers operating low-exposure schemes to have a recycled water management plan (RWMP), having an appropriate RWMP can be a useful way of managing the risks associated with the supply and use of recycled water. Those recycled water providers wishing to develop a RWMP should refer to the most recent edition of the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling: Managing Health and Environmental Risks (Phase 1).

Queensland Health is currently in the process of developing a guidance note concerning the use of recycled water for vehicle washdown/car-washing. Once finalised, the guidance note will be published on this website.

High-exposure uses

Recycled water providers that supply recycled water for high-exposure uses are regulated primarily by Water Supply Regulation within the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy. However, Queensland Health is a co-regulator of these schemes as well.

Supplying recycled water for the irrigation of minimally-processed food crops (e.g. berries), for domestic uses such as toilet-flushing, cold water laundry and outdoor irrigation, and for augmenting a supply of drinking water are all considered high-exposure uses of recycled water. Recycled water providers that supply recycled water for these uses must have a recycled water management plan that is approved by Water Supply Regulation. Read more about recycled water management plans. Water Supply Regulation has developed a suite of guidance materials for managers and operators of these schemes.

Requirements applicable to all recycled water schemes

All recycled water providers must register their recycled water schemes with the Queensland water supply regulator.

Find a list of registered recycled water schemes.

All recycled water providers are also obliged to supply recycled water that is ‘fit for use’ and does not represent a ‘public health risk’, as defined in the Public Health Act.

Using recycled water in a workplace

When using recycled water in the workplace, the person in control of the workplace has certain responsibilities in relation to the use, handling, storage and transport of this water.

Read more about using non-portable water in your business.

Last updated: 31 October 2019