Subterranean Recycling to Boost Perth’s Water Supply

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Monday, August 5th, 2013
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Western Australia will deploy world-class recycling technology to shore up Perth’s access to potable water supplies.

Following a landmark three-year groundwater replenishment trial which proved a resounding success, as well as the successful implementation of similar scheme overseas, the state government now plans to press ahead with its groundwater recycling plan.

The initiative will provide 7 billion litres of water to Perth residents ever year, potentially supplying up to 20 per cent of the state capital’s drinking water in upcoming decades, and thus further safeguarding the city from the drought conditions which occasionally blight the state.

The extremely thorough process which was tested in the landmark trial involves the used of advanced treatment technologies to first purify waste water from households and industry.

The water is then re-injected into natural aquifers, mixed with groundwater, and subjected to a natural filtration process which can last for up to three decades.

The use of the advanced treatment technologies means that the water is already pure prior to placement in aquifers, where it can remain for as long as 30 years before being extracted for human consumption.  Following its lengthy sojourn beneath the earth, the processed water will be as clean as the rest of the groundwater.

Western Australia’s water minister Terry Redman said the trial of the process required compliance with 254 health guidelines over the course of a three-year period.

“The trail recycled 2,533 megalitres of water – that’s the equivalent of 1,000 Olympic-size swimming pools – and returned an outstanding result in terms of meeting water quality guidelines,” he said. “All of the 62,300 water quality samples that were taken met with the required strict health and safety guidelines.”

Redman said versions of this particular recycling process had already been successfully deployed in California’s Orange County for over three decades, and is currently used by Singapore for the processing of some of its water supply.

The process also possesses pivotal advantages compared to conventional desalination plants, coming at far lower expense and consuming only around half the energy.

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