[ASC-media] Is recycled water safe to drink? (And why is Australia behind the rest of the world?)

Jenni Metcalfe jenni at econnect.com.au
Wed May 10 16:35:30 EST 2006

Media Conference: Is recycled water safe to drink?

Thursday 11th May, 12:30pm

Venue: Ottway 2 Board Room, Melbourne Convention Centre


Australians are still divided about whether recycled water is safe. 


Unlike many countries that have embraced water re-use technology for their drinking and irrigation needs, many politicians and community groups remain sceptical about the cost, benefit and public health risks of treated effluent and wastewater for urban use.


Four leading water scientists will clarify this question at a special media conference during Enviro 06 Conference & Exhibition in Melbourne, this week. 


John Anderson from the NSW Department of Commerce says there are many examples in Australia and worldwide that demonstrate how water re-use technology supplements domestic water supplies safely and successfully. 


"Technology is not the issue," says Mr Anderson. "It's the interaction between the water industry, community, politicians and regulators that's important. Community understanding and attitudes are the main factors as to the extent to which government will implement these technologies."


Greg Leslie, of the University of New South Wales, says wastewater technology is absolutely safe. "Treated effluent and wastewater re-use has been going on for years. It's only now that there is a greater need for it, that the public are re-evaluating its use."


Kevin Flanagan of Toowoomba City Council says the proposed Advanced Water Treatment Processes for further treatment of effluent from the city's wastewater treatment plant will produce a water of a superior quality to that which currently enters the city's normal drinking water supplies.


Australian scientists are also leading the way in assessing trace chemicals in recycled water. Heather Chapman, of Queensland Health Scientific Services, will outline a new water quality monitoring tool that allows scientists to detect hormones, carcinogens, toxins and other contaminants in our water supplies. 


Media conference speakers:


John Anderson: Technical Director, NSW Department of Commerce


Heather Chapman: Program leader - Sustainable Water Sources program, CRC Water Quality and Treatment, Queensland Health Scientific Services 0400 096 359


Kevin Flanagan: Director Engineering Services, Toowoomba City Council, 0417882499


A/Prof. Greg Leslie: School of Chemical Sciences and Eng. UNSW:  0414 234 345


For media assistance:

Jenni Metcalfe, Econnect Communication, 0408 551 866

Sarah Bartlett, Econnect Communication, 0404 504 258 


Jenni Metcalfe
Econnect Communication
PO Box 734
South Brisbane Q 4101

Ph. 07 3846 7111; 0408 551 866
jenni at econnect.com.au

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