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Standardising greywater treatment technologies through tests

15 January, 2009

A new protocol for testing greywater treatment technologies in Australia could boost efforts to conserve the nation’s water resources.

CSIRO’s Water for a Healthy Country Flagship and the Smart Water Fund (a joint initiative of Melbourne’s water businesses and the Victorian Government) have developed a practical, robust, sustainable method for testing whether greywater treatment technologies meet Australian standards.

CSIRO Land and Water scientist, Melissa Toifl, says the protocol is the first of its kind developed in Australia and could be used to establish a national greywater treatment testing regime.

“We used this synthetic formula and high levels of bacteria, viruses and protozoa, to test whether a treatment technology under challenged circumstances would produce water that meets the standard described in Australian guidelines for recycled water,”
Toifl says.

For testing, scientists created a synthetic greywater that contained basic everyday products that people use in the bathroom and laundry, such as soap, toothpaste and other personal care products as well as washing powder.

“We used this synthetic formula and high levels of bacteria, viruses and protozoa, to test whether a treatment technology under challenged circumstances would produce water that meets the standard described in Australian guidelines for recycled water,” Toifl says.

Currently in Australia there is no standard national testing method; states and territories each have their own legislation for greywater collection, treatment and use.

“With this protocol we are anticipating a national approach in the way greywater treatment technologies are tested and regulated,” Toifl says.

“This would simplify the process for manufacturers with the aim of increasing consumer adoption rates of greywater technologies.”

The Greywater Technology Testing Protocol report is available at: http://www.smartwater.com.au/projectdocs/project30/Greywater%20Technology%20Testing%20Protocol.pdf

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