Residential customers » Recycled water for residential customers

Recycled water for residential customers

Class A recycled water will soon be on its way to Armstrong Creek and Torquay North.

New homes and community facilities in these water sensitive urban developments will have a dedicated "purple pipe" delivering the recycled water.

Class A recycled water will soon be on its way to new homes in Armstrong Creek and Torquay North.

Not what you're looking for?

The information on this page is for residential customers connecting to Class A recycled water in new developments (e.g. Armstrong Creek).

If you are a business or commercial customer looking to connect to recycled water, refer to the business customers page. If you are a plumber connecting recycled water to homes, refer to the information for plumbers.

  Recycled water for business customers

  Recycled water: information for plumbers

  Learning centre: general information on recycled water

 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is Class A recycled water?
What are the main benefits of recycled water?
What can I use Class A recycled water for?
What is Class A recycled water not suitable for?
Can I water my plants with Class A recycled water?
Do water restrictions apply to recycled water?
Who will be connected to Class A recycled water?
How is Class A recycled water supplied to my house / property?
What are purple pipe, dual pipe and third pipe systems?
Will recycled water be available to existing homes?
What will recycled water cost?
When will Class A recycled water be available?
Is recycled water safe to drink? What happens if I drink it?
How can I check for cross connections?
Do I need a rainwater tank?
How is Class A recycled water regulated?
I am a plumber. What do I need to know about connecting recycled water?

 

What is Class A recycled water?

Recycled water is a safe, high quality, renewable resource.

Class A recycled water is the highest quality available, and is the only recycled water that will we will supply for residential use.

Recycled water has been used in Australia and other parts of the world for many years.

 

What are the main benefits of recycled water?

Recycled water is always in supply, regardless of climate or population factors.

It is not subject to water restrictions, and is cheaper that drinking (potable) water.

 

What can I use Class A recycled water for?

Based on EPA Victoria guidelines, Class A recycled water is suitable for:

  • watering your gardens, vegetables and lawns 
  • flushing your toilets
  • washing your car, outdoor furniture and hard surfaces (paths, walls, windows, etc.)
  • ornamental ponds and water features.

Class A recycled water will also be used in residential developments for irrigating open spaces such as parks and sporting grounds, and for fire hydrants.

 

What is Class A recycled water not suitable for?

Class A recycled water is not suitable or recommended for:

  • drinking
  • cooking or use in the kitchen
  • bathing or showering
  • filling swimming pools or spas
  • children's water toys.

 

Can I water my plants with Class A recycled water?

Yes. All plants can be watered using Class A recycled water from the purple pipe system. This includes edible plants such as fruit trees, vegetables and herbs.

As recycled water has a higher salt content than drinking water, we advise you to direct the recycled water to the roots of your plants, not the foliage. This will protect them from potential leaf burn.

Some plants, including citrus trees, roses, azaleas and camellias may be particularly sensitive to salt in their seedling stage.

 

Do water restrictions apply to recycled water?

No. Water restrictions do not apply to recycled water supplied to new developments.

Similarly, the Permanent Water Saving Plan does not apply to recycled water.

However, recycled water is a valuable resource and should not be wasted.

 

Who will be connected to Class A recycled water?

Homes, businesses, parks, sporting fields, parks, open spaces and community facilities in the new water sensitive urban developments of Armstrong Creek and Torquay North will be connected to Class A recycled water.

All new properties in these developments will be required to connect to recycled water.

 

How is Class A recycled water supplied to my house / property?

Class A recycled water is supplied by a dedicated "purple pipe" system.

The plumbing network in the new developments will consist of two pipelines and two meters at each property; separate pipelines, meters and taps for the recycled water and drinking water supplies.

 

What are purple pipe, dual pipe and third pipe systems?

These terms are interchangeable. We use the term "purple pipe" to refer to recycled water plumbing.

Developments connected to recycled water are variously referred to as "purple pipe" developments, "dual pipe" or "dual reticulation" developments (referring to the water and recycled water pipes) or even "third pipe" developments (referring to the incoming water and recycled water pipes, and the outgoing sewerage pipe).

 

Will recycled water be available to existing homes in other suburbs?

No. It is too expensive and difficult to re-plumb existing suburbs with a "purple pipe" recycled water system.

Where there are major new developments already underway, we will assess if it is financially viable to service these developments with recycled water.

 

What will Class A recycled water cost?

Exact pricing for Class A recycled water is still under review.

It is expected that Class A recycled water will cost 80% of the price of drinking water (by volume) and that there will be no service charge.

We propose that business and residential users pay the same for recycled water.

 

When will Class A recycled water be available?

Armstrong Creek is on-track for the first recycled water connections in our region.

The recycled water network will be operational from 1 July 2014. Until then, regular drinking water will be supplied via the purple pipe system.

 

Is recycled water safe to drink? What happens if I drink it?

Class A recycled water is not approved for drinking. However, it is treated to an extremely high standard and accidental consumption is not likely to make you ill.

If you accidently drink Class A recycled water, there is no need to panic. Should you experience any adverse symptoms or feel unwell, you should consult your doctor.

 

How can I check for cross connections?

In dual-pipe systems, drinking water and recycled water plumbing must be completely separate. If drinking water is mistakenly plumbed to recycled water outlets (or vice versa) it is called a cross connection.

When a house is built in a dual-pipe area, the plumber must arrange three inspections at different stages of construction. The Plumbing Industry Commission (PIC) conducts these inspections to ensure there are no cross connections. Barwon Water requires that these inspections take place, and the stop valve on the recycled water meter is locked shut until the final inspection has been passed.

It's easy to conduct your own plumbing check for cross connections.

  1. Turn off the stop valve on your drinking water meter and test your toilets, indoor taps and outdoor taps. Your toilets and outdoor taps should run as normal (as they are connected to recycled water) but the indoor taps should run dry after a few seconds (double story houses can take a little longer). If not, this could indicate a cross connection. Ensure your taps are off before turning the drinking water stop valve back on. Slowly turn the taps on to allow trapped air to escape, and turn them off again.
  2. Turn off the stop valve on your recycled water meter and test your outdoor taps. As these taps are connected to recycled water, they should quickly run dry. If they keep running, this may indicate a cross connection. Likewise, test your indoor taps and appliances. If they don't run as normal, they may be connected to recycled water instead. Ensure all taps and appliances are off before turning the stop valve back on.

If you think you may have a cross connection, contact us to speak with a member of our Connections team.

 

Do I need a rainwater tank?

No. New homes built in Victoria must meet the Building Commission's 5-star rating, which currently mandates either a rainwater tank for toilet flushing or a solar hot water system.

However, a Class A recycled water connection will also meet the requirement as an alternative to connecting to a rainwater tank.

You may still choose to install a rainwater tank as well.

  

How is Class A recycled water regulated?

Class A recycled water is strictly monitored to ensure it meets water quality standards in accordance with guidelines set by the Department of Health and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

 

I am a plumber. What do I need to know about connecting recycled water?

It is a requirement of both Barwon Water and the Plumbing Industry Commission (PIC) that plumbers complete their work in accordance with our conditions of connections.

In purple pipe areas there are additional plumbing requirements , including the need for three mandatory plumbing inspections during construction of the property.

  Information for plumbers connecting recycled water 

 



More information

 

Learning centre

For general information on recycled water, including the different classes of recycled water and our infrastructure projects, refer to the learning centre page

  Learning centre: Recycled water general information 

 

Information pack

We have developed an information pack of 12 fact sheets on our new recycled water planning, projects and business.

  Recycled water information pack

 

Business customers

For commercial, industrial and agricultural customers, including new and existing recycled water customers, please refer to the recycled water page in the business customers section.

  Recycled water for business customers