Key messages

  • Class A recycled water is derived from sewerage systems and industry processes, and treated to an appropriate standard.
  • The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria publishes guidance for large-scale water recycling schemes.
  • Recycled water management plans must be approved by EPA Victoria and endorsed by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Class A recycled water is derived from sewerage systems or industry processes, and treated to an appropriate standard.

Class A water is water designated for high-exposure uses, including:

  • residential developments (for example, 'dual pipe' systems for toilets and garden use)
  • irrigation where access is public and unrestricted
  • irrigation of edible crops intended for raw or unprocessed consumption.

EPA guidelines

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria has developed the following guidance for large-scale recycled water schemes with more than 5000 litres per day:

These guidelines define the roles and responsibilities of suppliers, users and government. The department works with EPA Victoria to assess and endorse Class A schemes to ensure that the water is fit for use and does not pose a health risk.

Note: The objectives described in Guidelines for environmental management: use of reclaimed water no longer apply in Victoria. Instead, a ‘fit-for-purpose’ approach outlined in the Australian guidelines for water recycling is used for assessment.

Recycled water quality management plans

In Victoria, all Class A water recycling schemes require the department's endorsement. Endorsement depends on the system's ability to meet its water quality objectives. EPA Victoria gives the final approval of any water recycling scheme.

The department’s Guide for the completion of a recycled water quality management plan: for Class A water recycling schemes helps proponents complete their recycled water quality management plans (RWQMPs). The department uses these plans to assess the system's capability.

Approval and endorsement

Before supplying recycled water in Victoria:

  • Class A schemes require EPA Victoria's approval and the department's endorsement
  • Class B, C and D schemes that exceed 1 ML/day must be approved by EPA Victoria or an EPA-appointed auditor
  • schemes that recycle industrial water must be approved by EPA Victoria or an EPA-appointed auditor
  • some recycled schemes may also require endorsement from the Chief Veterinary Officer where there are risks to livestock.

Approval requires an initial review of the risk identification and risk management systems.

Approval and endorsement are required if there are significant (non-administrative) changes to the management plans – for example, a change to a critical control point in an RWQMP, or the replacement of a treatment process.

Validating treatment processes

The Guidelines for validating treatment processes for pathogen reduction: supporting Class A recycled water schemes in Victoria document the evidence-based approach used in Class A schemes. These guidelines have undergone international and national peer review in consultation with the Australian water industry.

The guidelines are an important to:

  • protect the health and wellbeing of the community
  • protect the integrity of water recycling
  • facilitate efficient decision making
  • facilitate research.

Class A water recycling schemes in Victoria

Class A water recycling scheme

Scheme owner

Western Treatment Plant

Melbourne Water

Eastern Irrigation Scheme

Topaq

Epsom Spring Gully

Coliban Water

K2 Estate

Department of Human Services, Office of Housing

Brushy Creek

Yarra Valley Water

Surbiton Park

Western Water

Mount Hotham

Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management

Mount Buller

Mount Buller Alpine Resort Management

Aurora

Yarra Valley Water

Ballarat North

Central Highlands Water

Boneo

South East Water

Gippsland Water Factory

Gippsland Water

Altona

City West Water

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Plenary Conventions Pty Ltd

Somers

South East Water

Phillip Island

Westernport Water

Pakenham

South East Water

Melbourne Cricket Ground/Yarra Park

Melbourne Cricket Club

Eastern Treatment Plant

Melbourne Water

Black Rock

Barwon Water

Northern Water Plant

Barwon Water

Mount Martha

South East Water