Recycled water is wastewater from urban communities that has undergone extensive treatment to produce high quality reusable water. We use both biological and chemical processes to treat wastewater which takes many months to complete and results in a valuable source of water for our community. This is particularly beneficial in our dry climate.
We return recycled water back to the community for the watering of golf courses and as irrigation water for farmers. If water is not needed for these activities it is returned to the local river and creeks. The waterways benefit from receiving the recycled water as it boosts environmental flows.
Some of our operational activities produce carbon emissions, such as electricity used for pumping and aeration, wastewater treatment processes, combustion of fuel to provide energy for vehicles, generators and diesel pumps.
To allow for comparison in emissions reporting we adopted 2001/02 as a baseline year. In 2001/02 we emitted 71,087 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent gases into the atmosphere. In 2016/17 our reported net emissions were 40,581 tonnes, a reduction of more than 40 percent. This reduction has been driven by ongoing improvements in biogas management at our wastewater management facilities as well as an effective energy efficiency program.
As part of our commitment to reducing carbon emissions, we have been turning biogas produced at our wastewater management facilities into green energy since 2007.
Under the right conditions, microorganisms break down sewage to produce flammable biogas that can be used to generate electricity. We operate three facilities with biogas recovery. At our Shepparton and Tatura Wastewater Management Facilities we also work with Diamond Energy to convert the biogas from your sewage into renewable energy for their customers. To date we have produced over 40,000 megawatt-hours of electricity from sewage generated biogas. That’s enough to power 70 average Australian households for a hundred years.
We’ve also been installing solar panels at our water treatment sites. Not only does this help the environment but it’s also a good way of saving energy costs and keeping the price of our water as low as possible.
Renewable energy is just one of the ways we are reducing our environmental footprint while still providing high quality and reliable services to our customers.
Recycling Hard Waste
Since 2000 we have established procedures and practices to handle waste materials safely and recycle wherever practical.
In 2014/15 we set up hard waste recycling stations at a number of our facilities, where materials from water main repairs or construction are sorted prior to reuse or recycling. We no longer stockpile hard waste but aim to recycle as much as possible to improve our environmental and aesthetic outcomes.