What is the Sustainable Wastewater Programme?

It's Hunter Water's program to explore new and innovative ways of managing our wastewater. We are looking at new ways of recovering the resources with wastewater – such as recycled water, nutrients and energy. We are planning for a sustainable wastewater system that supports healthy waterways and communities that thrive.

What are currently doing?

We are currently developing a Sustainable Wastewater strategy to define our long-term approach for wastewater system performance, recycled water management and biosolids management.

Identifying water recycling opportunities means we can reduce wastewater discharges to waterways and save drinking water.

What is wastewater?

Wastewater is water that's been used in homes, businesses, or as part of industrial processes. Wastewater from houses, units and businesses enters a network of pipes and travels to a treatment facility, where it's processed.

We treat wastewater at one of 19 wastewater treatment works. The wastewater is treated in accordance with strict licence conditions issued by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to minimise the risk of environmental harm and public health impacts.

What is recycled water?

Recycled water is wastewater that has been treated to a standard suitable for reuse. Recycled water can be used for a variety of purposes, including irrigation, industrial use, or residential uses such as toilet flushing. Prior to reuse, the recycled water is treated in accordance with relevant guidelines to minimise public health and environmental risks.

What are biosolids?

Biosolids are the solid by-product of the wastewater treatment process. Hunter Water beneficially reuses biosolids produced at our wastewater treatment plants on farmlands and mine sites.

What is effluent?

Effluent is wastewater that has been treated to a standard suitable for discharge to waterways. Prior to discharge, the effluent is treated in accordance with strict licence conditions issued by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to minimise the risk of environmental harm and public health impacts.

How does Hunter Water treat wastewater?

Our wastewater system uses a range of physical, biological and chemical processes to treat wastewater to an acceptable quality for either reuse or discharge into local waterways or the ocean.

Prior to discharge, the effluent is treated in accordance with strict licence conditions issued by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to minimise the risk of environmental harm and public health impacts.

What's with the purple pipes?

Recycled water is delivered through its own separate pipe system. The pipes are purple, so they're not confused with the drinking water system.

Where can I find more information about wastewater?

More information about wastewater can be found in our Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet and in our Wastewater Systems page.