Recycled water

Find out about how we recycle water in Byron Shire.

Recycled water refers to highly treated effluent from sewage treatment plants.

It is used as an alternative water source, reducing pressure on freshwater resources.

Recycled water is also referred to as 'treated effluent reuse' or 'reclaimed water'.

At the Byron Bay sewage treatment plant, up to one mega-litre a day of effluent that would otherwise be discharged into our waterways is treated and supplied to urban areas via a purple pipe network.

That is equivalent to the water volume in a standard Olympic-sized swimming pool every 2-3 days.

In Byron Bay recycled water is used for:

  • irrigation of nurseries, golf courses, sporting fields, parks and gardens
  • truck filling standpipes for construction applications and dust suppression.

Is recycled water safe?

Any contact with recycled water should not be a concern as it is treated to a very high standard. 

Despite the high quality, recycled water in Byron Bay is not currently suitable for:

  • indoor water uses for example toilet flushing.
  • drinking
  • cooking
  • bathing
  • use in swimming pools. 

Benefits of recycled water

Recycling water:

  • creates a renewable resource
  • conserves our drinking water
  • provides a reliable source of water all year round
  • reduces treated effluent discharge
  • protects local waterways

The recycling process

At the Byron Bay sewage treatment plant effluent passes through multiple levels of treatment designed to remove all potential pollutants and harmful microorganism, the recycling process includes: 

  • Biological processes to remove pollutants, organic matter, grease and oil, nutrients and harmful microorganisms.
  • Disinfection through UV sterilisation.
  • Sand filtration.
  • Disinfection with chlorine.

Recycled water filling stations 

There are four ground mount recycled water filling stations in the Byron Shire:

  • Byron Bay depot, Bayshore Drive
  • South Byron (corner of Broken Head and Bangalow Rd near Golf Course)
  • Mullumbimby Recycled Water Storage Ponds (old STP– end of Casuarina Street, Mullumbimby)
  • Bangalow STP, Dudgeons Lane

To access Byron Shire Councils recycled water filling stations you must apply online 

Access recycled water from Byron Shire Council filling stations 

Frequently asked questions

Does recycled water smell or look different to drinking water?

No, recycled water smells and appears identical to drinking water and is filtered and chlorinated in the same way. It is only through detailed laboratory analysis that you can tell them apart. Both recycled water and drinking water can smell if left in pipes long enough. It is good practice to flush all taps if they have not been used for a long time.


How will I tell the difference between recycled water and drinking water at my home or business?

All recycled water pipes, taps and fittings are coloured purple for easy identification. All toilets, taps and irrigated areas are signed Recycled Water, do not drink. All recycled water taps also have removable handles which should be taken off when not in use.


We live in a high rainfall area. Why use recycled water when we already have enough?

The region’s main water source is Rocky Creek Dam, located within the Whian Whian State Forest.

The dam supplies drinking water to the Northern Rivers area stretching from Woodburn in the south, north to Ocean Shores and west to Lismore.

With a growing population in the region and more extreme weather conditions predicted in the future, it is estimated that demand will exceed supply by 2024 unless we reduce our drinking water consumption (Rous County Council – Future Water Strategy 2014).

Recycled water is a reliable, safe and sustainable alternative to help conserve our precious drinking water. Approximately 70% of the water we use in and around our homes does not require drinking quality water and could be replaced with recycled water.

What will happen to my recycled water if there is a drought?

You’ll have a drought-proof water source even when restrictions to drinking water apply. Recycled water is available 24/7.



What kind of testing is done on recycled water?

The pH, electrical conductivity (salinity), turbidity (filter accuracy), chlorine residual, Ultra Violet (UV) intensity and temperature of recycled water are rigorously monitored. Should any of these elements fall below standards, the facilities will be shut down.

Recycled water quality results are displayed on our Water and Wastewater Public Data Portal