Class A recycled water in ‘purple pipe’ areas

We supply Class A recycled water to customers for non-drinking purposes such as toilet flushing, garden watering and car washing.

Class A is the highest quality of recycled water. It is strictly monitored to ensure it meets water quality standards in accordance with the guidelines set by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

Class A water is safe, high-quality and always in supply, regardless of climate or population factors. Recycled water is not subject to water restrictions, and is cheaper for customers compared to drinking water.

Residents, businesses, parks and community facilities in Armstrong Creek and parts of Torquay, Mount Duneed and Charlemont are supplied with recycled water via a dedicated ‘purple pipe’ network.

What can I use Class A recycled water for?

Class A recycled water is suitable for:

  • watering lawns and gardens, including fruits, vegetables and herbs
  • flushing your toilet (but not bidet sprays)
  • washing your car, outdoor furniture and hard surfaces (like paths, walls and windows)
  • ponds and water features (change water regularly to minimise algal growth).

Gardens and plants

Plants can be watered using Class A recycled water from the purple pipe system, including edible plants such as vegetables, herbs and fruit trees.

As recycled water has a higher salt content than drinking water, you should direct recycled water to the roots of your plants, not the foliage – this will protect them from potential leaf burn. Some plants, including citrus trees, roses, azaleas and camellias, may be particularly sensitive to salt in their seedling stage.

Pets and livestock

Class A recycled water is treated and disinfected to an extremely high standard so if your pet drinks it, there is no cause for alarm. In fact, Class A recycled water is approved for livestock drinking (with the exception of pigs).

Open spaces

This water is also used in residential developments for irrigating open spaces, such as parks and sporting grounds, and for fire hydrants.

What can’t I use Class A recycled water for?

Class A recycled water is not suitable or approved for:

  • drinking
  • cooking or use in the kitchen
  • bathing or showering
  • filling pools or spas
  • bidets
  • water toys.

Our Class A recycled water is treated and disinfected to an extremely high standard, so accidental consumption is unlikely to make you sick. If you’ve consumed recycled water and feel unwell, consult your doctor.

Recycled water quality

We closely monitor the quality of recycled water supplies to ensure compliance with standards set out in the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling and EPA Victoria guidelines.

While Class A recycled water is a high quality resource, slight odour and minor discolouration are possible from time to time. This does not impact on the safety of the recycled water for approved uses.

There is no evidence that coronavirus (COVID-19) is transmissible via our recycled water network. Our treatment and disinfection facilities are designed to remove or inactivate the most resistant pathogens. Existing treatment process are highly effective in inactivating the COVID-19 virus.

Use and maintenance of your recycled water system

All properties in ‘purple pipe’ areas have two separate pipelines, meters and taps for their recycled and drinking water supplies – sometimes referred to as dual reticulation developments, or third pipe developments (referring also to the outgoing sewerage pipe).

Your purple recycled water meter stop-tap requires a key, supplied by your plumber or builder. If you don’t have a purple tap key, contact your builder. Alternatively, you can use a compatible ‘anti-vandal’ tap key, available at most hardware stores. Do not paint your recycled water meter. If you need to alter your meter in way, please contact us.

All recycled water taps should be labelled “recycled water, do not drink”. Please do not remove, obscure or paint over this signage.

Your drinking water and recycled water plumbing should be completely separate. If drinking water is mistakenly plumbed to recycled water outlets (or vice-versa) this is called a cross connection.

Purple tap test

During construction of your home, your builder will have arranged for a series of independent inspections to ensure your plumbing is installed correctly.

We recommend you also conduct an annual test for cross connections, as well as after completing any plumbing work. It only takes a few minutes and you don’t need a plumber or any specialist equipment.

  1. Turn off the water supply at your drinking water meter, typically located at the front of your property. The recycled water should be kept on.
  2. Slowly turn on all your hot and cold laundry, sink, bath and shower taps, one by one. All your outlets should run dry after a short period of time. If they continue to run, they could be connected to the recycled water system. This is called a cross connection.
  3. After all taps have run dry, flush your toilets. Your toilet cisterns should refill as normal, as they should be connected to the recycled water supply.
  4. Turn on your outside taps. The external drinking water tap should run dry. The purple water tap should continue to run.
  5. To check the appliances inside your home, such as dishwashers and washing machines, turn the drinking water supply at the meter back on slowly to clear air from the pipes. Turn off the recycled water supply at the meter, then run the internal appliances. If the appliances run normally they are connected correctly to the drinking water supply.
  6. You can now turn your recycled water back on at the meter. This completes the purple tap test.

If you think you have a cross connection, contact us to speak with a member of our recycled water quality team.

Fees and charges

Class A recycled water is currently priced at 70% of the cost of drinking water, and is charged by volume. There is no additional service charge for recycled water.

You will see a separate meter-reading entries on your Barwon Water bill for the drinking water and recycled water.

For more information, refer to our fees and charges.