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Water Recycling for Drinking Technology and Treatment   Guidelines and Validation

Wastewater contaminants from human activities can enter the food chain or affect plant and wildlife health. In remote locations, such as Antarctica, wastewater treatment difficulties include access to skilled plant operators to manage equipment and monitor water quality, reliability of suitable treatment systems, and the need to discharge non-toxic by-products to preserve the pristine environment.

This project is developed and demonstrated a robust (minimal operator involvement) water recycling process requiring low chemical use to produce a saline effluent fit for releasing in pristine marine environments. The system was also capable of producing drinking quality water. The project involved constructing and operating a demonstration plant at a wastewater treatment plant before trials commence at the Australian Antarctic Division’s Davis Station.


This project built and demonstrated an advanced water treatment plant at TasWater’s Selfs Point Wastewater Plant capable of producing high quality drinking water with significant energy and chemical savings for remote locations.The demonstration plant combined a number of advanced treatment technologies, including ozone disinfection, ceramic membrane filtration, activated carbon filtration, reverse osmosis, ultraviolet and chlorine disinfection. This portable water recycling solution was found to require minimal skilled operator involvement, low chemical and energy consumption, and delivered reliable performance, which could be verified on-line. Overall, the plant’s capability to produce potable quality product water was confirmed by monitoring and analysis of water quality data, and the use of Critical Control Points that met Australian drinking water quality standards.


In the 2017-18 summer season project partner, the Australian Antarctic Division, will transfer the plant to Davis Station (Antarctica) for a 12-18 month testing period. Initially the plant will treat wastewater to minimise the impact of discharge to the pristine environment, making it the first example of a revolutionary approach to water management and reuse in Antarctica.

Future applications of the treated water, which meets the requirements of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, are also being explored and a survey examining the attitudes of employees living on the base to using and drinking the recycled water is being conducted. The demonstration of a plant that can produce drinking quality water with minimal skilled operator involvement, low chemical and energy consumption and deliver a reliable performance, which could be verified on-line, has resulted in the outcomes receiving overseas interest from the USA, China and SE Asia.


The pilot plant in Tasmania Davis Station, Antarctica

Photo courtesy Australian Antarctic Division



Lead organisation: Victoria University
Partner organisations: University of Melbourne
Australian Antarctic Division
Veolia Water

About the AWRCoE Knowledge Hub Research Projects List of Publications Corporate Publications