Reduced water consumption

Understanding wastewater’s effectiveness for irrigation

A large volume of wastewater is generated in dairy processing annually and a significant amount of work has been carried out to both minimise the generation and to maximise the reuse and recycling of this wastewater.

Although opportunities for water recycling in the dairy industry are well known and largely understood, the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of actually implementing these opportunities are less well understood.  This is particularly true when considering the associated disposal and management of sodium and nutrients from recycling operations associated with irrigation.

In response to the uncertainties, CSIRO was commissioned by the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence, Dairy Innovation Australia Ltd. and Bega Cheese, to undertake a project to evaluate the technical, environmental and regulatory issues when wastewater from a large dairy company is used for irrigation.

The findings and outcomes from this study will be used more broadly in the dairy sector so we can reduce our water footprint and contribute to a sustainable environment. The final report was released in October 2014. Bega Cheese continues to work on wastewater irrigation with the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries and specialist soil consultants.