Decentralised fit-for-purpose water production provides an excellent opportunity to sustainably, reliably and cost-effectively meet growing demands for water of various quality levels, thereby complementing centralised water supply systems. Widespread implementation of such treatment is however currently hindered by a lack of understanding of the risks for some raw water sources; an absence of passive, low-energy consumption technologies that can reliably remove pathogens; and unknown operational and maintenance requirements for emerging technologies.
This project aims to deliver low-cost and low-energy filtration technologies that can produce fit-for-purpose water from a variety of sources including stormwater, greywater and wastewater. The focus is primarily on the required treatment of chemical and microbiological hazards in source waters to enable use in irrigation and potentially for residential water supply in potable and non-potable forms.
This project addresses the knowledge gaps in understanding the human health risks associated with pathogens and chemicals in untreated stormwater. Information gained in this research will contribute to the improvement of guidelines for stormwater harvesting and the development of stormwater treatment technologies to provide fit-for- purpose water. Researchers have also completed a literature review of current and novel treatment technologies for recycling water treatment to identify benefits and limitations.
Through studies of urban catchments in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, the project has shown that urban stormwater in some catchments can have characteristics similar to secondary treated wastewater, with remnants of pathogens found. This is an important finding that informs the selection of stormwater treatment technologies to produce fit-for-purpose water supplies. The studies pinpoint a need for continuing research into the public health implications of pathogens, and recommend interim design and water quality guidelines for the use of stormwater for non-drinking purposes.