Picton Wastewater Scheme and Water Recycling Plant

Keeping recycled water in the community

We're looking at how we manage the recycled water at the Picton Recycled Water Plant. It currently treats wastewater from up to 5,000 homes and businesses in Picton and the surrounding area, producing recycled water which is used to irrigate our Picton Farm. The farm is at capacity, and we’re looking at alternative ways to manage the excess recycled water. We want to increase re-use and keep precious water in the community.

Recycled water is used to irrigate up to 119 hectares of pasture land at Picton Farm.


Picton Water Recycling Plant treats wastewater that’s been used in about 5,000 homes and businesses in Picton, Tahmoor, Thirlmere, Bargo and Buxton. The Picton Wastewater Scheme includes:

  • pipelines and pumping stations
  • Picton Water Recycling Plant, which currently receives an average of 3 million litres of dry weather wastewater flows a day.

Once wastewater is treated, it's used to irrigate 119 hectares of crops on Picton Farm, which is owned by Sydney Water. In limited circumstances, excess recycled water can be released into Stonequarry Creek. The frequency and amount of treated water that can be released must comply with conditions set be the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA)

We've been improving the Picton Wastewater Scheme for several years. This includes:

  • increasing the volume of wastewater that can be treated at the plant
  • building pilot wetland cells to assess how well they remove nutrients from the treated wastewater
  • reducing nitrogen levels in the treated wastewater to minimise impacts on the environment and waterways
  • investigating wet weather inflows into our wastewater system
  • installing new equipment at the plant to further minimise impacts on the environment.

Connecting to the scheme

The Picton Scheme involves treating wastewater at our recycling plant and reusing the effluent to grow fodder on paddocks at Picton Farm. 

Inflows to our treatment plant currently exceed our capacity to reuse all the water. This results in increased discharge to local waterways and impacts our ability to allow new housing and growth connections. 

Developments that can connect

We're planning to increase the capacity of the Picton Scheme. Until this is approved, connections are only applicable for proposed developments that are:

  • within the existing wastewater servicing area for the Picton Scheme and that are consistent with existing agreed land use zones (agreed by the 2011 LEP and 2014 amendments)
  • in the areas where planning approvals and rezoning were formalised before 2018. This includes parts of Picton, East Thirlmere, South Thirlmere, West Tahmoor, South Tahmoor and East Tahmoor. Please check the map below.

Until the effluent management constraints and upgrades have been resolved, developments permitted to connect will need to be consistent with existing agreed land use zones. Even if developments are suitable to connect under the zoning agreement above, they will need to be referred to us for concurrence assessment unless it's a complying development.

Developments that can't connect

We're currently unable to provide a wastewater connection for any:

  • planning proposal to rezone or uplift land within the existing wastewater servicing area for the Picton Scheme. This includes rezoning of land in West Picton, East Thirlmere, South Thirlmere, West Tahmoor, South Tahmoor and East Tahmoor 
  • proposed development or planning proposal to rezone land outside the above areas
  • proposed development or planning proposal to rezone land outside of the boundary of the Buxton and Bargo pressure sewer scheme. 

Next steps

If you meet the above zoning and location criteria and want a wastewater connection to the Picton Scheme, first check if you have a complying development. If not, you'll likely need a building plan approval or Section 73 application. A feasibility assessment may be recommended depending on the complexity and size of the development, its location within the scheme and whether it's serviced by gravity or a pressure system.

This may include development within R2 low density residential zoning including developments that are greater than 60 m2 and within the B2 local centre zone and those within the PSP area.

A water serving coordinator should complete the feasibility process. For more information, download our Land development guide (620KB) or visit the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for more about complying developments.

Please email urbangrowth@sydneywater.com.au if you need more information or for advice on feasibilities, please email developerservices@sydneywater.com.au    

Refer to the Picton Scheme boundary map (995KB) for more details.

Expanding the scheme

We're working on a plan to expand the Picton Wastewater Scheme. This includes consulting with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Wollondilly Council to identify options that:

  • enable development
  • are cost effective
  • maintain local waterway health.

Depending on the plan that the EPA agrees to, the planning and delivery of this may take up to up to four years. We'll provide more information on this website as it becomes available.

In the meantime, developers wishing to rezone land ahead of this timeframe (or with projects outside of the servicing area) can discuss on-site wastewater management options with Wollondilly Council.

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