Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Recycled Sewage? Not Likely

As the town of Toowoomba, in Queensland, will very shortly vote on a proposal to install a method to recycle the water from its sewage treatment plant. The city of Goulburn in NSW is considering a similar scheme.

Like many political arguments, there is a level of scare-mongering, deception and ignorance; and perhaps some people are bing disingenuous. Some of NSW more prominent State politicians have been at teh forefront. One said words to the effect that "Sydney people will never accept recycled sewage." They might not accept sewage, but Sydney residents drink recycled water that comes from parts of the Blue Mountains, and from cities and towns in the Southern Highlands. These places collect their sewage, treat it, and release potable water into the rivers that feed Sydney's water supply.

It is true that some proposals will mean that water is removed from sewage, filtered, treated and returned to the water supply. From the water supply, water is again filtered and treated so that it is potable (fit for drinking).

This is not the same as saying that "recycled sewage" will be put back into the water supply; nor would consumers be drinking "recycled sewage". They are clearly untrue statements, but they are used as arguments by some people against the concept of water recycling. One hopes they never travel overseas, especially to England and Europe, where water recycling is much more common.

In a continent as dry as Australia, experiencing the perennial water shortages as we do, it is inconceivable that people use emotive, invalid arguments to not accept properly treated, recycled water.

The Analyst