June 2, 2015


IT’S called flush and forget.

That is, the long-time practice of flushing away wastewater and not giving it another thought.

But those days could be coming to an end, says a company set to use new recycling technology in the Hunter.

The company, Flow Systems, is using this technology in Sydney to irrigate vertical gardens on high-rise buildings.

It will be used in the Hunter at housing developments at Cooranbong and Wyee in Lake Macquarie and Bellbird and the Huntlee development in Cessnock.

‘‘ This is the way of the future,’’ Flow Systems corporate affairs and marketing executive Lisa McLean said.

Ms McLean said water management was heading ‘‘ away from big centralised infrastructure that makes us flush and forget’’ .

Under this new system, wastewater would ‘‘ not go out to sea’ ’ – it would be purified and reused.

‘‘ We think the Hunter is doing something really special because it’s starting to move into this type of servicing,’’ she said.

Johnson Property Group is planning to use the technology at its 2500-lot development at Cooranbong, known as Watagan Park.

Lake Macquarie City Council is assessing the $2.5 million application. A council report said Hunter Water had originally been slated to provide water supply and sewerage services for the development.

‘‘ However the developer notes that due to the high infrastructure costs of this service model, alternatives were investigated,’’ the report said.

Johnson Property Group development director Bryan Garland said the plan responded to government laws that encourage competition for state-owned infrastructure.

‘‘ From an environmental point of view, it makes sense,’’ Mr Garland said, adding that reusing treated water would mean less demand for town water.

Flow Systems provided recycling systems at the $8 billion Green Square and $2 billion Central Park developments in Sydney.

Ms McLean said the company used technology called ‘‘ a membrane bioreactor’’ .

‘‘ The filters are 80 times smaller than viruses or pathogens – it’s a natural way of purifying the water,’’ she said.

The quality of the water, once it goes through the membrane bioreactor and reverse osmosis, is good enough to drink.’’

But she said it was ‘‘ not about having to drink recycled water’’ .

‘‘ It’s about using it for up to 70 per cent of non-potable needs – toilet flushing, irrigation and clothes washing.’’

The Cooranbong plan has attracted opposition from more than 100 residents.

In a submission to the council , resident Robert Fisher said ‘‘ the proposed plant is located quite close to existing residences’’ .

‘‘ These residents will inevitably be affected by odour and noise from this sewerage treatment plant,’’ Mr Fisher said.

However, Ms McLean said the system was ‘‘ odourless and doesn’t have any noise’’ .

Mr Fisher said the system should be built within the Watagan Park development, away from other houses.

A council report recommended the plan be approved, saying it would have an acceptable environmental effect.

The report said noise and odour emissions had been ‘‘ assessed as acceptable’’ .

A public meeting will be held on the matter at Cooranbong Community Centre at 7pm on Tuesday.

Newcastle Herald

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