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Watering of Ovals – Why not more recycled water

By johnny_the_knife - 19 November 2008 18

I’m sure this has been covered before, but as I was walking past an oval the other day with the sprinklers on, I stated to wonder, which can’t we use recycled water on the ovals rather than potable “town water”.  This plan seems so simple that there must be some massive defect I haven’t thought of or it would have been done already.

Basically, we install subterranean water tanks close to each oval to be watered with a capacity of at least 20,000 litres.  A pump is connected to the tank which pressurises the water and drives the existing sprinklers.  The electricity supply wouldn’t be a big problem as most of the ovals have lighting for night time use, so power is available nearby.

Filling the tanks from rain water wouldn’t be practical, but I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t fill a tanker tuck with 20,000L of water from the Sewerage treatment works output.  If the water is good enough to put in the river (in which people swim, i.e., primary contact activities) then surly it is good enough to water some grass.  If people are really worried about microbes etc, then stick a bit of chlorine in the water before using it.

Tanks and pumps don’t cost a lot of money to purchase and install (considerably less than replacing the grass with a synthetic alternative), and shipping the water as required wouldn’t be all that dear either.

What’s Your opinion?


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18 Responses to
Watering of Ovals – Why not more recycled water
PsydFX 10:56 am 21 Nov 08

monomania said :

PsydFX, janitors are not microbiologists or technicians. And like all jobs, people have varying levels of competence. I for one am glad that our water supply is maintained and tested by trained professionals, no disrespect intended to school janitors.

Contaminated harvested rainwater (from poorly maintained school roofs, gutters and tanks) has the potential to make kids sick even if they don’t drink it, when sprayed around ovals and playgrounds. The same goes for tanks full of recycled water. School kids should not be guinea pigs for what is a fad. What level of risk is acceptable?

How does it have the potential to make kids sick? Is this coming from any kind of research or is this just your opinion.

As for this poorly maintained roof argument, I’m not sure if you have heard of first flush diverters or not, but they are designed to catch the particulates that accumulate on roofs and in gutters in between rainfalls, this would prevent the majority of the contaminants making it into the tank. For the contaminates that do make it into the tank, low level chlorination would be sufficient to ensure that harmful pathogens are killed – and this process can be automated.

Now at this stage, I’m sure you’ll probably want to consult google, and will probably come back with the argument that chlorination does not effectively eliminate Cryptosporidium and Giardia – which is true, however, the likelihood of these protozoans occurring in harvested tank water in sufficient enough numbers to pose a risk is low – especially considering the water would not be used for drinking.

And just an interesting side note for you, Googong Water Treatment Plant, which services Queanbeyan and Canberra during the hotter months does not UV Treat it’s water. UV Treatment is the only effective way of eliminating the above mentioned protozoans.

monomania 9:28 am 20 Nov 08

captainwhorebags said :

I still don’t get this “turd water” nonsense.

The treated water that comes out of Lower Molonglo sewerage works is cleaner than the stuff thats in the river. I’ve got no problems whatsoever drinking recycled water.

All water is recycled. It’s only the method that differs.

The trouble is that this recycled water comes at a price. Up to $300 million to build the plant supplying 9GL of water. Relatively rapid depreciation compared to a dam. High running costs. Consumes a lot of power. Water 2+ times as expensive. Health risk and uck factor.

PsydFX, janitors are not microbiologists or technicians. And like all jobs, people have varying levels of competence. I for one am glad that our water supply is maintained and tested by trained professionals, no disrespect intended to school janitors.

Contaminated harvested rainwater (from poorly maintained school roofs, gutters and tanks) has the potential to make kids sick even if they don’t drink it, when sprayed around ovals and playgrounds. The same goes for tanks full of recycled water. School kids should not be guinea pigs for what is a fad. What level of risk is acceptable?

captainwhorebags 7:46 am 20 Nov 08

I still don’t get this “turd water” nonsense.

The treated water that comes out of Lower Molonglo sewerage works is cleaner than the stuff thats in the river. I’ve got no problems whatsoever drinking recycled water.

All water is recycled. It’s only the method that differs.

Granny 1:12 am 20 Nov 08

I can’t believe they’ve been doing it since 1972, and the best they can manage is 70 hectares in 7 sites.

This is either the worst managed project in ACTEW’s chequered history, or it’s just not possible. 36 years! Perhaps they should just give up ….

PsydFX 1:02 am 20 Nov 08

I don’t understand why a janitor would have to maintain roofing and guttering any more than they do now?

It still seems like you’re stereotyping Janitors, I mean it’s not like they couldn’t be taught to regularly put a small sample of water into a tube, add test agents, and comprehend the results, and in all seriousness, I think, bar acts of deliberate vandalism, the risk of concerning contamination is fairly slim.

monomania 11:08 pm 19 Nov 08

PsydFX said :

monomania said :

I wouldn’t want to send my kids to a school whose playground was watered by water from a facility that the janitor was responsible for.

Is this because your are an elitist who doesn’t value the hard work of a janitor.

What’s there even for a janitor to manage? The small amount chlorine they need to include to keep bugs out!

monomania said :

Let the treated sewerage and storm water back into the river to be further cleaned by nature and use potable water instead.

I find it funny that you don’t want your kids on an oval where the water is controlled by a janitor, but you are more than happy to let them drink turd water.

You misunderstood what I was talking about PsydFX. I want the playground watered by treated potable water. Turd water is one of those expensive methods I don’t support. What I don’t like the idea of is tanks, particularly underground, either supplied from school roofs or recycled water trucked in at a price far beyond what Actew can supply using reticulated potable water. The recycled water comes from the sewerage works. It is turd water. Keeping water safe is more complicated than throwing in a bit of chlorine. School janitors are not trained to treat water or to test it regularly to make it remains safe. Nor do they have the time to adequately maintain the roofs and gutters of school buildings which believe me can readily become contaminated. I have got on with all the janitors I have been associated with over 25 years and liked and respected most.

PsydFX 8:12 pm 19 Nov 08

monomania said :

I wouldn’t want to send my kids to a school whose playground was watered by water from a facility that the janitor was responsible for.

Is this because your are an elitist who doesn’t value the hard work of a janitor.

What’s there even for a janitor to manage? The small amount chlorine they need to include to keep bugs out!

monomania said :

Let the treated sewerage and storm water back into the river to be further cleaned by nature and use potable water instead.

I find it funny that you don’t want your kids on an oval where the water is controlled by a janitor, but you are more than happy to let them drink turd water.

miz 6:15 pm 19 Nov 08

Lucky you, an oval near you that gets watered!

johnny_the_knife 5:06 pm 19 Nov 08

monomania said :

I wouldn’t want to send my kids to a school whose playground was watered by water from a facility that the janitor was responsible for.

Turning a bit more river or dam water into potable water costs a few cents a KL and we know its being made safe by experts. The trick is to have enough.

And therein lies the problem, based on the current water restrictions in force in the ACT one could conclude we don’t have enough.

And you already do send your kids to a school whose irrigation facilities are maintained by the janitor, it just uses potable water. If the water is being treated and chlorinated by the sewerage works prior to being trucked to the location where it is needed (which is pretty cheap to do) it would be done by experts.

monomania 4:48 pm 19 Nov 08

PsydFX said :

Where you may think that the amount of water used to maintain sporting facilities is “negligible”, we have found ourselves in a time where saving every little bit is supposed to help.

Where you have areas that require enough water and you can pipe recycled water in fine. Otherwise its just too expensive to justify the fairly small amount of water saved. I wouldn’t want to send my kids to a school whose playground was watered by water from a facility that the janitor was responsible for. Just about all the schemes to avoid using potable water are not economic. Turning a bit more river or dam water into potable water costs a few cents a KL and we know its being made safe by experts. The trick is to have enough. Let the treated sewerage and storm water back into the river to be further cleaned by nature and use potable water instead.

PsydFX 3:31 pm 19 Nov 08

Where you may think that the amount of water used to maintain sporting facilities is “negligible”, we have found ourselves in a time where saving every little bit is supposed to help.

Having a look around Canberra, I see a lot of playing fields are adjoining Schools, could we not sink these underground tanks at these schools and use the massive amounts of water that could be collected to maintain the adjoining playing field?

This would mean that we are saving precious potable water, Schools are saving money on water rates (if they pay water rates that is), and at the same time we’re ensuring that students and the public have access to nice green ovals to play on.

Even if there isn’t enough rainwater collected to maintain these ovals all year round, with the tanks in place we would be able to – as the original poster suggested – truck in non-potable water.

Growling Ferret 2:44 pm 19 Nov 08

ADFA and RMC Ovals, Reid Oval, Ainslie Oval and the Southwell Park facility are all on recycled water from the Fyshwick plant. I believe that Canberra Racecourse is also irrigated using this water. Belconnen Magpies golf course uses water from the Lower Molonglo treatment plant (Holt) iirc.

There were plans a number of years ago to increase recycled water usage at smaller scaled facilities, but then the crisis (the proposed cancellation of ALL junior and senior training and possibly games as well) was averted by the water supply reaching 50% again so its dipped back into the too hard basket.

Water used to maintain sporting facilities is negligable in comparison to domestic and industrial use, and someone commissioned a study a few years back that the majority of Canberras use these facilities some point each year, and it contributes x amount of jobs – but I believe it was well over 1000 each year.

sepi 2:26 pm 19 Nov 08

we could use K Rudd’s 2 mill?

johnny_the_knife 12:27 pm 19 Nov 08

Thats excellent – it should be even easier to implement the scheme described above. All we need to a forward thinking government to take some action…

pug206gti 11:38 am 19 Nov 08

Ta da: Actew wis decades ahead:

North Canberra Water Reuse Scheme (NCWRS)
The NCWRS scheme began as a pilot in 1972 and was commissioned on a large scale in 2004. It now delivers water for irrigation to seven sites totalling 70 hectares across North Canberra.

http://www.actewagl.com.au/wastewater/treatment/NcEffluentReuse/default.aspx

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