SA Water has launched a new campaign to remind customers to think about what they put into their drains to ensure wastewater can be reused for the benefit of the community.
SA Water Manager of Wastewater Treatment Performance Nick Swain said that every day over half of the water used goes down the drain and eventually reaches one of SA Water’s wastewater treatment plants.
“To raise community awareness of what happens to water when it disappears down the drain, a DVD has been created for schools and community groups, and is available online via YouTube,” he said.
“The DVD includes three videos which provide clear messages to customers about how they can protect their own pipe work but also the larger wastewater network which carries and treats the wastewater from their homes.
“Every year a large number of items are removed from SA Water’s wastewater network which shouldn’t be there. These include toys, nappies and baby wipes, which costs SA Water about $400,000 every year to remove,” Nick says.
“The most unusual items we have seen in the system include a rubber chicken, credit cards and false teeth.”
“Toilets, sinks and drains are not bins. Items such as medicine, rubbish and food scraps should not be flushed down the drain. Likewise, pouring boiling water down the drain can damage your pipes.
“Pouring cooking fats and oils can line the pipe work at your property and make it hard for the good bacteria to process at our treatment plants.
“Using environmentally friendly cleaning products or natural cleaners such as vinegar are better than using strong chemicals which are bad for the environment and also affect the good bacteria in the treatment process,” Nick says.
“By doing these simple things, customers can avoid unnecessary calls to plumbers, protect their pipe work, assist SA Water to keep treatment costs down and help safeguard the environment.”
“It will allow SA Water to recycle and reuse as much as possible from wastewater reduces our reliance on the River Murray or the desalination plant. Recycled water has the added bonus of being less expensive than mains water.” said Nick.
Nick says wastewater is 99% water and South Australia recycles up to 30% of it, almost twice the average for the nation.
“When it arrives at our treatment plant, the wastewater goes through an extensive treatment process to become recycled water. This treatment process ensures that the recycled water is of a high standard and can be approved by SA Health to be reused for purposes like irrigation,” Nick says.
Recycled water is used for the irrigation of gardens and parks, dual reticulation in many buildings and suburbs across Adelaide, and even waters the bamboo for South Australia’s panda’s- Wang Wang and Funi.
“Recycled water isn’t the only thing SA Water can capture from wastewater. We also transform methane gas into electricity which powers half of Bolivar’s energy needs.”
“Bolivar is Adelaide’s largest Wastewater Treatment Plant and treats approximately 5 bath tubs a second or 60 Olympic swimming pools a day.”
“Waste at treatment plants can also be converted into biosolids, which improve soil health and crop growth. Over 35,000 tonnes is produced a year, which is still not enough to meet demand from farmers,” said Nick.
The videos form part of SA Water’s ‘Treated well, it’s not just waste’ campaign. The campaign includes billboard signage, free community tours of SA Water treatment plants, student education events, back of toilet door signage and customer brochures.
For more information and updates on the campaign visit the SA Water website.