Using non-potable water

Businesses generally obtain their water from the drinking water (potable water) supply mains. However, in many cases it is possible to use non-potable water for certain purposes (e.g. flushing toilets). Using non-potable water for selected purposes can reduce your water bills and make your business more environmentally sustainable.

The quality of non-potable water will vary depending on its source and the level of treatment applied and so may contain biological hazards such as bacteria, viruses, or chemical and metal residues. It is therefore important to weigh up the risks and benefits.

Types of non-potable water

Non-potable water sources can include the following:

  • Recycled water is water that has been used and is then supplied for reuse, either treated or untreated. Recycled water may be sourced from sewage (wastewater treatment plants) or process water streams.
  • Stormwater is the run-off from roofs, roads, driveways and other hard surfaces. Stormwater must generally be treated for use. Water caught in rainwater tanks is suitable for some uses.
  • Greywater is wastewater generated from showers and laundries. Greywater may be used treated or untreated, depending on its use.

Risk management and safety

The person in control of the workplace must manage any risks from the use, handling, storage, and transport of non-potable water at the workplace.

Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, manufacturers, suppliers and users of non-potable water in a workplace have an obligation to prevent death, injury or illness caused by the water.

Read more about non-potable water.

Find out more about your obligations for keeping your workplace safe, and how to address the risks associated with using non-potable water in your risk management plan.

Regulation and legislation

The Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 regulates recycled water produced and supplied by a recycled water provider. The main aim of the Act is to ensure public health is protected. Your recycled water provider may have obligations under the legislation and may, for example, propose a recycled water agreement with your workplace.

State government agencies in Queensland with regulatory responsibilities for the use of recycled water include: