Recycled water has been a hot topic for debate in Brisbane & South East Queensland recently. While there are many positives for the use of recycled water for industry and non-drinking applications, there are also many negatives for the use of recycled water for drinking water. Can you trust the local government to ensure this water is fit for human consumption? Accidents and mistakes do happen, think back to the fluoride overdose from SEQ water in 2009.
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1. Professor Patrick Troy, of Australian National University (ANU), says the recycled sewage could be used for things like cooling water in power stations, watering gardens, flushing toilets and in laundries rather than potentially "subjecting the population to diseases and a variety of illnesses."
2. Microbiologist Peter Collignon, from the Canberra Hospital, says a mistake or malfunction (at the treatment plant) for just one day in every three to five years could lead to a contamination which could potentially affect hundreds of thousands of people.
1. Professor Troy, whose expertise is in planning, said the safety of recycled water had not been proved in any long-term epidemiological studies. "It will not be possible to remove all biologically active waste molecules from the system," he said. "The probability is that something like 8 per cent of these impurities will get through, and that is assuming the system is working properly."
1. In the first project of its kind in Australia, recycled water will soon account for up to 25 per cent of southeast Queensland's drinking water.
2. Despite the fact the Hinze Dam, which generally receives more rain than those in the other areas, is almost 95 per cent full, Gold Coast residents could receive drinking water that contains recycled sewage when the Hinze Dam levels fall again.
3. Professor Troy said residents with allergies would be particularly at risk of infection. "What's happening here is that the authorities are playing Russian roulette with the health of the population," he said.