What is recycled water?

Recycled water is water that has been used before in homes and businesses. It is collected and treated to a high standard so it is safe to use.

Why is recycled water being provided?

Delivering this project is an action of the Lower Hunter Water Plan. It is a key water-saving initiative, as properties receiving recycled water reduce their use of drinking water by approximately 40%.The Chisholm and Thornton North recycled water scheme is registered with the NSW Department of Planning’s BASIX system, and Hunter Water is required to provide recycled water to maintain BASIX compliance for these customers.

When will recycled water be introduced?

Recycled water is expected to be delivered to Gillieston Heights from 31 May 2019. (Chisholm will receive recycled water from 5 May 2019. We will contact customers in Thornton North directly to let them know about recycled water connections to their homes.)

Is recycled water safe?

The recycled water will be treated to a high standard and must comply with the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling and the requirements of NSW Health.

What can I use recycled water for?

Toilet flushing
Washing cars, paths and external walls
Watering lawns and gardens, including fruit trees and vegetable gardens
Washing laundry in a washing machineFor watering pets and livestock, except for pigs which are raised for human consumption.

What can't I use recycled water for?

Human consumption
Cooking and other kitchen purposes
Personal washing, such as baths, showers, hand basins and bidets
Cleaning inside the home
Filling swimming pools
Recreation involving water contact such as playing in outside sprinklers
Evaporative coolers
Watering pigs which are raised for human consumption.

Where will my recycled water come from?

The new recycled water plant at the Farley Wastewater Treatment Plant will provide recycled water to customers in Gillieston Heights.

How much drinking water will using recycled water in my home save?

Homes which use recycled water typically use 40% less drinking water.

How much do I pay for recycled water?

Water used through your recycled water meter (purple meter) is charged at $2.00 per kilolitre (thousand litres). Water used through your drinking water meter is charged at $2.30 per kilolitre. The water which you have been using in your recycled water system is currently drinking water, but is being charged to you at the recycled water rate. There is also an annual recycled water service charge of $22.28.

Why does my recycled water plumbing have purple fittings and removable taps?

The taps which provide recycled water have purple fittings so they can be easily identified. Recycled water is provided to flush toilets and for taps outdoors. Some homes will also have a recycled water tap in the laundry for connection to the washing machine (if this option was chosen by the property owner when the house was built).

Removable taps are provided outside to help ensure the water is not accidently used instead of drinking water, for example when filling swimming pools or for children to play under sprinklers.

Why do I need to use a licensed plumber?

Property owners should only use licensed plumbers for any plumbing work. This is to ensure that no ‘cross connections’ between the drinking water and recycled water systems are accidentally made. The plumber will also ensure the recycled water system is labelled and colour-coded, and that all fittings are in place.

I am a landlord, what should I do to prepare?

If Hunter Water has a different postal address for a property we will assume the property may be leased. In this case we will send information about using recycled water to both the street address and postal address.


If you own a property that is leased, please let all future tenants know that recycled water is provided.

I am a tenant. What should I do to prepare?

We will send information about using recycled water to all homes, to ensure tenants are aware recycled water is being provided. Please contact us if you have any questions.

What is a home plumbing inspection?

Before supplying recycled water, our contractor, H L Mullane, completed home plumbing inspections for properties in Chisholm. The inspection was to make sure the recycled water system is correctly labelled and colour-coded (purple), has the required fittings and is in good working order.

What if the inspection identifies that some repairs need to be made?

When H L Mullane undertake the inspection it is possible that they may find one or more items that need to be repaired. The home plumbing inspection is free of charge, but further plumbing work is the responsibility of the property owner.

Can I use recycled water to water my fruit trees and vegetable garden?

Recycled water is suitable to use on fruit trees and gardens containing edible vegetables.

Can I fill my outdoor fish tank using recycled water?

Outdoor ornamental ponds can be filled with recycled water. The recycled water has a higher chlorine content so this needs to be considered if using recycled water for outdoor ponds containing fish.

Can I wash my dog using recycled water?

It is safe to wash your dog using recycled water, in fact some commercial dog washers in Sydney use this water source. It is safe for customers to come into contact with recycled water incidentally, for example when washing dogs.

Can my pets drink recycled water?

Pets can drink recycled water, with the exception of pigs which are raised for human consumption.

Can I use recycled water in my pool?

Recycled water must not be used for filling swimming pools.

What should I do if someone accidently drinks recycled water?

The recycled water is treated to a high quality. It is unlikely to cause illness if someone accidentally drinks it, however, care should be taken to prevent it being consumed. The reason tap handles are removable, and the recycled water fittings are coloured purple, is so customers can easily identify sources of recycled water.

Is recycled water subject to water restrictions?

Recycled water will not to be subject to water restrictions, however, we ask you to use it wisely, for example, not watering outside during hot days when more water will be lost to evaporation.

Will the recycled water smell different to drinking water?

You may notice the recycled water smells slightly more of chlorine, because it is more highly disinfected.

Why haven’t I been receiving recycled water up until now?

Hunter Water is currently constructing the recycled water treatment plants at the Morpeth and Farley. The recycled water plants will soon be ready to provide recycled water. It has not been possible to build the recycled water plants before now because there were not enough properties sold and developed at Chisholm, Thornton and Gillieston Heights to receive the recycled water produced.