About recycled waterRecycled water is wastewater treated to a standard that is appropriate for its intended use.
Recycled water uses and classesVictoria’s general environmental duty (GED) requires anyone involved in activities that pose a risk to human health and the environment from pollution and waste to minimise those risks, so far as reasonably practicable.
For recycled water producers, suppliers, and users, this means making sure that recycled water is fit-for-purpose for human health and the environment.
Recycled water is classified into three classes based on the water quality objectives achieved after treatment. The class of recycled water determines what it can safely be used for.
Class A is the highest grade of recycled water and the only grade suitable for non-potable residential use. Examples of Class A uses in the home include:
- toilet flushing
- clothes washing
- garden watering, including vegetable gardens
- general outdoor uses such as car washing and filling water features and ponds that are not used for swimming.
Class A can also be used for the irrigation of open public spaces such as parks and sport fields where public access is unrestricted, and food crops that may be consumed raw.
Class BClass B recycled water uses include the irrigation of sports fields and dairy cattle grazing land.
Class B can also be used for industrial washdown water as well as for the uses listed for Classes C but has restrictions to manage human exposure.
Class CClass C recycled water has several uses including agricultural use for cooked or processed human food crops such as wine grapes and olives. Class C can also be used for livestock grazing and fodder if safeguards are met.
Recycled water for the environment
Recycled water for the environment involves releasing recycled water into a flow-stressed waterway such as a river. This use of recycled water aims to improve flows to help maintain and benefit waterway health.
Recycled water for the environment is considered on a case-by-case basis, to ensure environmental values can be achieved or maintained and environmental flow requirements can be satisfied.
Related EPA guidelines
These guidelines inform your state of knowledge for recycled water:
- Victorian guideline for water recycling (publication 1910.1)
- Technical information for the Victorian guideline for water recycling (publication 1911.1)
- Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling (AGWR) provides further information on design and operation of recycled water schemes.
- Victorian guideline for irrigation with recycled water (publication 168) is a resource for designers and operators of recycled water irrigation schemes.
- Most of the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters) was revoked as subordinate legislation in 2021. However, some clauses (e.g. clause 25) remain useful as a source of information for duty holders and regulatory decision-makers.
As described in the Victorian guideline for water recycling, the scheme manager should notify EPA when there is an incident related to a Class A recycled water scheme. For holders of permissions for water recycling activities (reclaimed wastewater supply or use), see further information about permission notifications.
EPA’s factsheet Class A recycled water – incident notification protocol (publication 1959) explains when and how a scheme manager needs to report incidents to EPA.
Reviewed 5 June 2023