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Curtin University
Curtin Water Quality Research Centre

Water recycling

Climate shifts, expanding populations and drought have resulted in scarcity of water in many parts of Australia and most States are now investigating alternative water sources. Perth, in particular, has experienced sustained drought conditions for the past three decades, with inflows into dams now less than one third of long-term averages. Western Australia’s Water Corporation (WCWA) conservatively estimates that water recycling could increase Perth’s potable supply by 45 GL annually. CWQRC has been an instrumental partner in a number of research projects underpinning increased water reuse in Western Australia.

Current and Recent Projects

Treating Wastewater for Potable Reuse: Removal of Chemicals of Concern using Advanced Oxidation Processes

Key contacts: Anna Heitz, Cynthia Joll, Kathryn Linge, Sebastien Allard, Jeremy Hartley (PhD Student)
Collaborators: Water Corporation, GHD,EAWAG
Funded by: ARC Linkage Grant, Water Corporation, GHD, WQRA

From 2010, the Beenyup Groundwater Replenishment Trial (GWRT) will inject highly treated wastewater into Perth’s most important source of drinking water, the Gnangara Mound. This 3-year trial of indirect potable reuse (IPR) by aquifer replenishment will be one of the first major IPR schemes in Australia. The overall aim of this associated ARC Linkage project is to minimise key micropollutants, including N-nitrosamines, in the water injected in the GWRT. This project will develop the fundamental science to enable design and implementation of novel advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) for removal of micropollutants from wastewater for reuse.

Characterising Treated Wastewater for Drinking Purposes Following Reverse Osmosis Treatment

Key contacts: Kathryn Linge, Anna Heitz, Francesco Busetti
Collaborators: Department of Health (lead), Water Corporation, Chemistry Centre WA, Department of Water, University of Western Australia, CSIRO Land & Water and National Measurement Institute
Funded by: Premier’s Collaborative Research Program (WA Govt)

This project characterised potential microbial and chemical constituents of both secondary effluent from Perth’s wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), as well as microfiltration-reverse osmosis (MF-RO) treated secondary wastewater for the application of replenishing drinking water aquifers. CWQRC set up analytical methods for around 220 trace organic compounds for this project. The compounds on this list include endocrine disrupting compounds, chelating agents, volatile organic compounds, trihalomethanes, haloacetonitriles, haloacetic acids, haloketones, haloaldehydes, N-nitrosamines, inorganic oxyanions and miscellaneous disinfection by-products, acidic and basic pharmaceuticals, iodinated contrast media, phenols and PAHs. This project has put in place the capacity for detailed assessment and study of the safety and effectiveness of water recycling schemes to world-class standards. This is significant because this capability has not previously been available in WA, or indeed Australia. Implementation of the technology can now proceed in the knowledge that it is underpinned by a growing local capability in robust science.