Grey-water use gets green light

LEGISLATION has been introduced that makes way for the reuse of grey-water on lawns and gardens but there are concerns the cost of installing appropriate systems may prove a disincentive for Gladstone residents.

The Plumbing and Drainage and Other Legislation Bill 2005 was passed in Queensland Parliament recently, allowing householders to re-use grey-water from dishwashers, washing machines and showers in areas served by a sewerage system.

The Bill excludes the re-use of grey-water from kitchens because of its tendency to carry grease that can clog pipes and filters.

Gladstone City Council planning manager Andrew Kearns said the Bill was a positive step in conserving such a vital resource but he expected the cost of installing systems that complied with regulations would be prohibitive for many households.

Regulations focus on the flow of grey-water and storage; maximum grey-water generation amounts; allotment size and soil type; and diversion capabilities in the event of rain periods or system malfunction. "It is not as straight-forward as it seems. These systems are quite elaborate and similar to onsite sewerage systems found on non-sewered properties,' Mr Kearns said.

He said Local Government and Planning Minister Desley Boyles estimated a cost of between $2000 for new homes and $6000 for existing dwellings to install a grey-water system was probably a bit conservative.

Mr Kearns said Gladstone City Council, in anticipating the passing of the new legislation, had made a submission to the State Government, calling for a subsidy for people who installed grey-water systems but the council had yet to receive a reply.

'Quite a few people are interested in the principle of re-using grey-water, especially developers, but our concern is that it is not financially viable without some form of government assistance,' he said.

Mr Kearns said the council would formally consider the new legislation and its requirements at its next meeting.

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