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Recycled water won't kill you

11-Feb-2010


Article by Alan Lander -

Caption: Managing director of OZZI-KLEEN Mal Close and service manager Graeme Oakley share many years in the waste water industry.
YOU have more chance of contracting leprosy, being killed by lightning or winning division one in Lotto than you have of contracting a virus through drinking recycled water, according to a Coast waste water advocate.

Graeme Oakley, of Suncoast Waste Water Management at Kunda Park, said you don’t have to ask him to confirm that – it’s contained in an Australian Bureau of Statistics finding.

He was prompted to speak out after a Sunshine Coast Council decision not to include recycled water as a future option despite likely shortages, and the assertions of local campaigner Laurie Jones in yesterday’s Daily.

Mr Oakley said he was “sick and tired” of people arguing that recycled drinking water was a danger to human health and equally sick of politicians who ran a mile from the issue.

“I’m sick of people standing there saying it can’t be done,” he said.
“They blow things all out of proportion.  If anyone can name someone who has died from drinking recycled water, let us know. No one seems to have suffered from this virus they talk of. If there is, produce the person.”

Mr Oakley said many people against the idea were fixed in the mind about it and were never going to change their opinion.
“If people don’t want to drink it, just say so, but don’t try to use science to support your argument,” he said. “People have to wise up and accept scientific results from around the world, which are as good if not better than science will produce locally.”

Mr Oakley said validation of the means to produce safe drinking water from treated effluent was known, and used, worldwide.
“In 10 years of recycled water use in California, no one has died,” he said.

Mr Oakley said the three-stage process recommended in Australia was overkill but accepted it, even if it couldn’t be used on the Sunshine Coast. “It’s extremely difficult to provide recycled drinking water on the Coast because the politicians won’t allow it,” he said. Mr Oakley, who once worked in Saudi Arabia on giant desalination plants, said the company he worked for produced recycled water for irrigation.

The technology was able to easily work with grey water or black water, “but even if you take it through (the process), people won’t let you use it”. He said the wastewater system industry had received some bad press in the past, due to authorities approving certain products but not policing them.

“Policing the systems through independent testing is the key, not self-testing,” Mr Oakley said.
He said some systems manufacturers had closed in the past, only to open up again under another name.

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