Recycled water use on golf courses

What you need to know about Class C recycled water

In the Toowoomba region about 1230 megalitres of recycled water a year are used for irrigating sports fields and golf courses as well as being used for power generation and dust suppression and coal washing. This provides several benefits for the regional community.

The recycled water used on golf courses in the Toowoomba region is Class C water and is suitable for irrigating public areas and sports grounds but not fit for drinking or bathing.

How recycled water is used on golf courses

The Queensland government requires that suppliers and users of recycled water have the appropriate control measures in place to ensure that water is used safely.

Recycled water is pumped to the club's storage dams and then reticulated to sprinklers located generally in the centre of fairways, tees and green areas.

The clubs irrigate their course at night to reduce water loss from evaporation and to prevent direct public contact with the recycled water.

Other controls are required as well when using Class C recycled water in this way:

  • Preventing aerosols and spray drift by using large droplet applicators and low angle nozzles;
  • Observing withholding times after irrigation with restricted access for the public and defining set back distances from neighbouring properties and public areas;
  • Using purple coloured plumbing fixtures to AS/NZ3500.1 and AS2700 standards;
  • Installing appropriate signage and instigating appropriate hygiene procedures.

Safe recycled water

Recycled water is safe to use when the relevant health and technical guidelines have been followed. Toowoomba regional water facilities treat this water to a fit-for-purpose standard but it is not suitable for drinking.

Under Queensland legislation and the terms of their agreements with Toowoomba Regional Council, the golf clubs are responsible for ensuring safe use of recycled water.Their staff members are aware of the health and environmental requirements and practices to achieve best results for themselves, the community and the environment.

Signs around the golf courses advise that recycled water is being used for irrigation. The amount used varies depending on the weather and other factors. All entrances to the golf club will have signage informing the public at what times recycled water is in use.

Access to the public is restricted to times outside these times to reduce the risk of human contact. Access is generally not permitted for four hours after irrigation finishes, or the grass is dry.

Possible health hazard

Class C recycled water is treated to meet licence and wastewater reuse conditions set by the State Government under the Public Health Regulation 2005 but still poses a hazard when in direct human contact, such as, potential infection and illness caused by bacteria, viruses and other pathogenic micro-organisms.

Infection or illness can result from direct ingestion, spray inhalation, and mouth to hand contact. If accidental contact occurs and symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea follow, seek medical advice immediately.

Good hygiene practices

Irrespective of the time, if you use the golf course as a player, or staff member, or use it as a park for exercising or walking the dog for example, then you should observe the following hygiene practices to protect your health:

  1. Do not use water from a purple coloured tap for drinking or washing hands;
  2. Wash hands with soap and clean water at the end of any contact with recycled water, especially before eating, drinking or smoking. 
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