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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 9 December 2010) . . Page.. 6207 ..


Additionally, at the individual property level amendments have been made to the Water and Sewerage Regulations 2001 to provide for the separation of grey water in

domestic premises to the edge of the floor slab. New developments are also required to install ‘provisional water pipes’ to toilets, washing machines and an external point to allow for future use of either grey water or rainwater.

While the overall cost effectiveness of implementing grey water systems is best evaluated at the individual household level, the benefits include achieving savings on household water bills where on-site use of reclaimed water replaces mains water use, and the promotion of water efficiency through community awareness.

(5) Representatives from a number of private sector grey water technology specialists have held discussions with DECCEW and EPA staff over the last 12 months.

Grey water systems will be evaluated within the overall context of recycling options available during the current review of Think water, act water.

While Government will always maintain an open mind to evaluating the introduction of the latest technologies and solutions, it would be remiss of me not to highlight that historically, there are a number of problems associated with the promotion of grey water systems.

Grey water systems are largely site-specific and become more complex if they need to be located under a concrete slab. The issues associated with grey water systems include:

the relatively high costs of these systems, their installation and required maintenance or servicing costs - grey water systems require a regular usage and maintenance regime;

the difficulty in obtaining qualified tradesmen to install and maintain such systems;

the need to ensure how and where the grey water is used on a block; and

health issues related to potential impacts and effects on humans, soils and plants.

Only waste water from the laundry and bathroom is regarded as suitable, as kitchen waste water contains too many fat and oil residues that can potentially pose a health and environmental risk. Depending on the source, grey water generally contains small traces of pathogens and bacteria and therefore has the potential to pose a risk to human health. Untreated grey water cannot be stored for longer than 24 hours.

In addition, and importantly in the ACT context, the implementation of grey water systems in an inland city has different implications than those for a coastal city. This is particularly so now with the ACT’s proposed revised (reduced) cap and its place in the Murray-Darling Basin. On the coast, the grey water as part of the sewerage system is lost to the ocean, while in the ACT the water is treated and recycled down the Murrumbidgee system for further use downstream.

(6) ACTEW conforms to the competitive neutrality principles consistent with the Competition Principles Agreement. ACTEW makes tax equivalent payments each year and makes dividend payments to its shareholders equivalent to its full after tax profit.

The Government is unaware of any need to test the competitive neutrality issue in relation to any of ACTEW’s operations but is willing to follow up upon receiving


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