Water Journal : Water Journal August 2011
governance water AUGUST 2011 73 Queensland In Queensland, proposed water recycling schemes must satisfy key requirements set out under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld), the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld), the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 (Qld) and the Public Health Act 2005 (Qld). The supply of recycled water is also governed by the general water management regime of the Water Act 2000 (Qld). Sewage and water treatment are environmentally relevant activities under the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 (Qld). As such, development approval must be obtained under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) before a facility is constructed. Once constructed, the works must be operated by a registered operator, under a current registration certificate issued under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld). Large sewage treatment plants are also notifiable activities under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld), and must be listed on the Environmental Management Register. The Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 (Qld) sets mandatory requirements that recycled water providers must satisfy. A key requirement is that providers prepare a Recycled Water Management Plan (RWMP). Providers can apply for exemptions from this requirement. Exemption applications are assessed on the basis of the potential for human exposure to the recycled water, and risks associated with that exposure. The quality of recycled water is regulated under the Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) and regulations made under that Act. The Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management website (www.derm.qld.gov.au) contains various guidelines to provide assistance to recycled water providers in preparing RWMPs. The website also contains a link to the Manual for Recycled Water Agreements in Queensland, which provides guidance on the terms for a recycled water agreement, as well as a model agreement. The Queensland Government has amended the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002 (Qld) to provide for a limited number of treated blackwater reuse trials in certain categories of buildings in South-East Queensland. Information about the trials (and associated regulatory requirements) can be found on the Queensland Department of Local Government and Planning website at: www.dlgp.qld.gov.au Western Australia A proposed water recycling scheme in Western Australia may require approval under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA), the relevant local planning scheme, the Water Services Licensing Act 1995 (WA) and the Health Act 1911 (WA). The Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA) provides for works approvals and licensing requirements in relation to prescribed premises. Prescribed premises are listed in subordinate regulations and are classified as either 'Part 1' or 'Part 2' premises. Part 1 premises include: (a) Facilities where at least 100m3 per day of sewage is treated or discharged; and (b) 'liquid waste facilities', being premises on which liquid waste produced on other premises (other than sewerage waste) is stored, reprocessed, treated or irrigated (100 tonnes or more per year). Part 2 premises include sewage facilities where only 20--100m3 of sewage is treated or discharged per day. Both Part 1 and Part 2 premises must be constructed in accordance with a works approval, and operated in accordance with a licence (except in respect of Part 2 premises if those premises are registered with the Department of Environment and Conservation, in which case a licence is not required). Proposed recycled water schemes in Western Australia may also require approval of the local government under the applicable local planning scheme. When a planning determination is made, the decision-maker will take into account relevant planning policies. One such policy that is relevant is State Planning Policy 2.9 -- Environmental and Natural Resources Policy. Under this policy, councils are required to take into account (among other things) the need to promote the reuse and recycling of water. The Water Services Licensing Act 1995 (WA) establishes a scheme for licensing water services. Under this Act, any person who wants to provide a water service in Western Australia must give notice to the Economic Regulation Authority. Where the proposed scheme relates to a determined controlled area (sewerage services) or controlled area (water supply services), the person must obtain a licence under the Act. Matters relevant to the granting of a licence include the proponent's financial and technical ability to provide water services that will be covered by the licence. A water recycling scheme may also require approval under the Health Act 1911 (WA) and/or its subordinate regulations. The Draft Approval Framework for the Use of Non-drinking Water in Western Australia, published by the Department of Water, provides a non-mandatory process that enables the Department of Water to be a central clearing house for the various approval applications necessary for a water recycling scheme, so that the application process is streamlined. The document is currently operational and, at the time of publication, is expected to be reviewed and finalised in the coming year or so. For further information on water recycling in these jurisdictions, please contact Penny Murray at penny.murray@ minterellison.com (NSW), Antra Hood at email@example.com (Queensland), Judith Bradsen at judith.bradsen@ minterellison.com (SA) and Lee Rossetto at firstname.lastname@example.org (WA).
Water Journal September 2011
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