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Recycled water scare campaign

By GnT - 11 June 2007 18

I received in my letterbox a piece of political propaganda authorised by “Water our Garden City Inc” titled “Say NO to Drinking Recycled Sewage”.

According to the leaflet, recycled water is unnecessary, not green, expensive and dangerous.

Now I’m no water expert, but I do like to pay attention to the science and as far as I’m aware recycled water is safe and is used successfully in other parts of the world. In fact, places like Adelaide have been drinking our treated effluent for years and they all seem to be pretty healthy (well, physically – I can’t comment on their mental state).

I object to this scare campaign which capitilises on the ‘yuck’ factor of recycled water to turn people away from a safe and environmentally friendly option.

What’s Your opinion?

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18 Responses to
Recycled water scare campaign
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sir rakment 10:26 am 12 Jun 07

It is what is already in the water that should be of most concern, one only need ask about flouride.

Not to mention all the chlorine we absorb through our largest organ (skin) when we shower or bathe.
Besides, ALL water is recycled through the hydrological cycle from sea to rain to land, and the soil and rivers are natural filters – we advertise on water lying still and dead in plastic bottles that it is pure, fresh, mountain water, and yet we somehow seem to think that tap water it is already pure according to whose standards? There is currently no food standard to say what kind of water can be bottled, or that it has to be from a spring! I can place a rusty old spring in a water tank, filter it, and call it spring water!
think about it friends…

Al 10:09 am 12 Jun 07

I was going to dive right into this again, but then I thought: these poo-phobes who question recycling without also questioning the water they currently get out of their taps have no credibility in my eyes. So there endeth my contribution…

hairy nosed wombat 12:43 am 12 Jun 07

I do not think we drink Cooma, Jindabyne & Thredbos recycled sewage. There is something about Coma discharging into the Murrumbidgee river (which I have swam and canoed in, and most likely ended up drinking some water while doing this), and Jindabyne & Thredbo discharging into the snowy river (which may/may not get pumped over to the Eucumbene river, and flows past tumut).

Having said that, we drink god knows how much kangaroo crap from the Cotter, and cow and roo crap from the Googong dam and Qbn river

Kramer 8:08 pm 11 Jun 07

I don’t get their problem, we are already drinking the water discharged by the treament plants at Cooma, Jindabyne & Thredbo.

BTW – the reason the water in London is so crap, is not because it is recycled, but because it travels through 500 year old pipes, which are oxidising and contaminating the water.

el 4:53 pm 11 Jun 07

It’s even more elaborate than I first thought!

el 4:47 pm 11 Jun 07

Dihydrogen Monoxide is the deadliest chemical there is, and it’s all around us. Check out this link.

LOL! A little bit long-winded, but still bloody funny stuff GnT.

GnT 3:53 pm 11 Jun 07

Dihydrogen Monoxide is the deadliest chemical there is, and it’s all around us. Check out this link.

Now there’s a chemical we should be concerned about! Imagine if they added that to our water supply?!!

utah 2:25 pm 11 Jun 07

Nuts. One missed italic tag…

No luck adding the “Edit Comment” button, on the new site?

utah 2:19 pm 11 Jun 07

Sepi said:

I don’t object to the fact that it was once sewage, so much as to the amount of chemicals they will be adding to water to ensure it is drinkable.

Water is a chemical. Name one chemical they add to recycled water that they don’t add to your existing supply?

As for Namibia’s recycling project – it’s one of the poorest nations on Earth – 58% of the population live on less than US$2 per day. I can’t help thinking that we’re a little bit better resourced when it comes to maintaining a recycling plant.

sepi 1:33 pm 11 Jun 07

One of the problems is that they don’t plan to segregate the recycled water, so if it all goes wrong, they are actually ruining our existing good water.

I don’t object to the fact that it was once sewage, so much as to the amount of chemicals they will be adding to water to ensure it is drinkable.

And I think the potential for it to go wrong is too big.

Yes people around the world drink recycled water because they have no other alternatives – we do have alternatives. And the recycled water they have is revolting.

And it does go wrong:

Recycle it, then put the testing of the output water in the hands of a separate agency or organisation. If the water meets the necessary quality/cleanliness level, then what’s the problem?

We need to take the emotion out of this debate and start looking at cold hard facts. If water meets the requisite cleanliness standard, I am happy to drink it.

Gentleman Farmer 12:56 pm 11 Jun 07

Where do these people think water comes from? It just appears somewhere, brought by special magical elves? Here’s a clue: it’s all recycled. All of it everywhere has been through countless paths already. Animals have *already* peed in it. Humans specifically recycling water is just speeding up the process of filtering.

And like Catriona said, we could even just use it for toilets and bathrooms and laundries, watering gardens, washing things, hosing down factory floors and all the industrial uses that aren’t already using recycled water. The water for drinking and cooking could just be saved for one kitchen tap. For example.

Rawhide Kid No 2 12:01 pm 11 Jun 07

Whats wrong with drinking tank water and leaving the recycled water for all other other uses. I was brought up on tank water and it never caused any problems to myself and other members of my family. A 3000 litre tank for drinking purposes only is very hard to empty. This is not realy a big tank.

I-filed 11:01 am 11 Jun 07

Water that has been distilled is entirely safe – but I don’t trust membrane-filtered water in the hands of a semi-privatised utility. How about when cost-cutting kicks in hard? Do you seriously think it’s unlikely nasties could slip through, and do you seriously trust the water company to be transparent in the event of a fault and not cover up to the slightest degree? I’m all for membrane-filtered recycled water for washing etc – but not for drinking or cooking.

Nemo 10:31 am 11 Jun 07

I also received this letter in my mailbox. I think GnT has missed 3/4 of it. The pamphlet is mostly about the alternatives we have as explored by ACTEW in 2005.

There are many.

If any of you have lived in Adelaide or London, you will know how poor the water quality is. I lived in London for 2 years no one I know drank anything other than bottled water.

Do we want to go down this track when there are feasible alternatives.?

Pandy 10:13 am 11 Jun 07

Where in the budget are their local sewerage mining plants to water local playing fields? Apparently you can have these things installed at home.

In London you get to drink your piss 7 times on average, so I am told. And how many men have boobs there? (Hormones folks)

Catriona 10:00 am 11 Jun 07

Why do these people always have to focus on the drinking aspect of recycled water? How much of our water consumption is actually for drinking? It’s ridiculous that we flush our toilets and water our lawns with drinking-quality water – we SHOULD be switching to recycled, and those people who are scared by the “ick factor” can just drink bottled water if it bothers them so much. I bet most of these people hardly drink tap water anyway.

jr 9:52 am 11 Jun 07


I think there is an common expression “Opinions are like a$$holes – everyone has one” and these individuals are simply stating their opinion (whether right or wrong)

They do however appear to be a “genuine” incorporated organization:

Extracted from ASIC’s database at AEST 09:47:42 on 11/06/2007
A 04214
Type Associations
Registration Date Unknown
Next Review Date Unknown
Status Registered
Principal Place of Business not available
Jurisdiction Registrar-General’s Office, ACT

However the document has not been correctly authorized in accordance with the ACT Electoral Act.

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