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.
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