Australia’s CSIRO demonstrations indirect stormwater reuse

Scientists at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have bottled recycled stormwater as pure drinking water titled “Recharge”, CSIRO announced on 17 September 2009.

As a demonstration of indirect recharge, the water was captured in the City of Salisbury, on the Northern Adelaide Plains in South Australia. It was stored 160m below Salisbury in a porous limestone aquifer.

“This is an exciting demonstration of the value of stormwater and the drinking water that can be produced from it by using a combination of natural treatment processes and engineered methods,” said Dr Peter Dillon, leader of CSIRO’s Water for a Healthy Country Flagship Urban Water Stream.

The stormwater passed through a reed bed or wetland, which allowed particles to settle. It was then injected via wells into the aquifer for storage and months of natural slow filtration.

After recovery, the water was rigorously tested in National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited laboratories, where it was found to meet drinking water health standards. For extra safeguard and aesthetic quality, the water was aerated, filtered through an activated carbon filter and underwent microfiltration and ultraviolet disinfection.

Dr Dillon said the bottled water demonstrates that drinking water can be produced from stormwater, and that the concept can be part of a suite of diversified water supply options. “It also avoids the economic, social and environmental costs of building new dams for water storage and shows the value of urban aquifers,” he said.

CSIRO scientists are continuing to test the robustness of the concept to ensure water can be produced that consistently meets drinking water health standards. The water will be available for public tastings in the next few days.