Recycled water

Recycled water is really just water.

We take wastewater that's been used in homes and businesses and put it through a multi-step treatment process to remove impurities. The purified water can be used in many ways, including:

  • in homes and businesses 
  • in industry
  • to irrigate parks, farms and playing fields
  • for river health.


Recycled water is also referred to as 'non-drinking water'.

Recycled water plumbing requires particular care. This ensures there's no cross connection between the drinking and non-drinking water supplies.

Drinking water and non-drinking water pipes within properties must be:

  • kept separate
  • clearly identified as required under the relevant plumbing codes.

Only licensed plumbers can do plumbing and drainage work, including work on recycled water and greywater systems. Plumbers must work in accordance with the current version of the Plumbing Code of Australia and Australian Standard AS/NZ 3500.

All pipes and products used to install a water service must comply with the current national plumbing codes and Australian Standards. Visit  NSW Fair Trading for the latest requirements.

NSW Health advises on, and regulates, the health aspects of recycled water use and quality. 

NSW Fair Trading regulates and inspects recycled water plumbing to make sure it complies with the Plumbing Code of Australia and NSW Health guidelines.

To book an inspection:


Recycled water plumbing inspections
You'll need to pay additional inspection fees for recycled water plumbing as you need more inspections.  

What is sewer mining?

Sewer mining is one of the many ways the NSW Government is securing our water supply for the growing population.

It's another way to produce recycled water by extracting wastewater from a local wastewater system and treating it on-site using a small treatment plant. 

Recycled water is treated so it's safe for its intended use. 

Recycled water produced from sewer mining is used:

  • to flush toilets in commercial buildings and at industrial sites
  • in cooling towers
  • to irrigate sportsfields, parks and golf courses.

 

Learn more


Where is sewer mining being used?

Sydney Olympic Park

Sydney Olympic Park was Australia’s first large scale, urban recycling scheme to source wastewater through sewer mining. Recycled water is used for irrigation and other non-drinking purposes.

Recycled water replaces 50% of the drinking water that would otherwise be used at Sydney Olympic Park and Newington Estate.

Pennant Hills Golf Club

Pennant Hills Golf Club’s Water Reclamation Plant produces up to 100 million litres of recycled water each year to irrigate the golf course. Previously, the course relied on drinking water for irrigation.

This sewer mining project was the first of its kind for a privately run golf club in Australia.

Workplace 6

Workplace 6, located on Darling Island in Sydney, is the first commercial development in NSW with a six-star Green Star energy rating. The environmentally sustainable office building has an on-site sewer mining facility that produces up to 14 million litres of recycled water each year to flush toilets and irrigate two parks.

The number of sewer mining projects is constantly growing. For an up to date list, visit www.waterforlife.nsw.gov.au.
 

Golf buggy in front of sprinklers on a golf course

Recycled water produced from sewer mining can be used for irrigation.

What is stormwater harvesting?

Golfer on course in front of dam

Cammeray Golf Club's dam is topped up with stormwater, which is used for irrigation.

Stormwater is another source of recycled water. We work with local councils and other agencies to manage Sydney’s stormwater. We also investigate opportunities to collect and re-use stormwater.

Stormwater harvesting involves:

  • collecting stormwater from urban areas such as stormwater drains or creeks (not from roofs)
  • storing the stormwater
  • treating the stormwater so it can be re-used as recycled water.

Recycled water produced from stormwater harvesting is commonly used to water:
  • public parks
  • gardens
  • sportsfields
  • golf courses.


What are the benefits of stormwater harvesting and re-use?

Stormwater harvesting:

  • reduces the demand for drinking water
  • reduces stress on urban streams and rivers by capturing some of the pollutants and nutrients that would otherwise enter waterways from stormwater flows
  • increases opportunities for sustainable water management. This is an important consideration in water sensitive urban design.

Learn more


Who can operate stormwater harvesting schemes?

The NSW Government encourages the private sector to implement innovative solutions to secure Sydney’s water supply, particularly by recycling.

Local councils are responsible for about 95% of stormwater drainage in the Sydney region.

Most stormwater harvesting schemes are locally operated.

There are a number of projects across the Sydney region that collect and re-use stormwater.

We generally don't have a role in establishing or operating small local schemes. However, we'll help arrange access to the stormwater supply from our stormwater system.

The number of stormwater harvesting projects is constantly growing. For an up to date list, visit www.waterforlife.nsw.gov.au

Drinking and recycled water meters

Recycled water meters and fittings are coloured purple.