Frequently asked questions

    What is it?

    The Upper South Creek Advanced Water Recycling Centre will be a sophisticated wastewater treatment and resource recovery plant that will produce recycled water, renewable energy and bio-resources. 

    Initially, the centre will treat wastewater and produce water suitable for a range of uses including recycled water for healthy rivers, and later residential reticulation for a range of industrial, commercial and agricultural uses.

    The centre will also produce renewable energy and bi-products suitable for future land applications.

    Where will the centre be located?

    Discussions are progressing with the property owner around the future location of the centre. The proposed location is north-east of Elizabeth Drive in Kemps Creek.

    What is wastewater?

    There are two types of wastewater - greywater and blackwater.

    Greywater is household water from baths, showers, hand basins and washing machines that does not include toilet discharge.

    Blackwater is from toilets. Wastewater from your kitchen sink is also treated as blackwater in onsite wastewater systems, because it can be highly contaminated with food particles, cooking oil and grease.

    We collect more than 1.3 billion litres of wastewater from over 1.8 million homes and businesses in Sydney, the Illawarra and the Blue Mountains every day.

    We treat the wastewater before it's re-used or discharged to rivers or oceans, following conditions set out by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA). They monitor the effects of discharges to ensure no envrionmental harm.

    We also produce biosolids—the nutrient rich material created from treating wastewater solids. Biosolids are a rich source of phosphorus and nitrogen, which can be used in agriculture, composting and land rehabilitation.

    What is recycled water?

    Wastewater is treated according to the Australian guidelines for water recycling. This ensures recycled water is safe and suitable for its intended use.

    Recycled water can be used to:

    • water gardens, golf courses and parks
    • flush toilets
    • wash cars
    • fight fires.

    It can also be used for some industrial purposes and to encourage rivers to flow.

    Why are you building the Water Recycling Centre?

    The centre will provide essential wastewater services to a growing Western Sydney.

    By 2056, Western Sydney will be home to around 1.5 million people. Water will play a critical role in supporting communities, business and the environment during this growth period.

    The Advanced Water Recycling Centre will:

    • respond to growth in western Sydney. 
    • play a critical role in protecting our waterways and the environment.
    • focus on creating liveability, with cool, attractive places for people to live and work.
    • green the west and help western Sydney transition to an integrated and sustainable water future.

    With Western Sydney becoming hotter and drier, recycling wastewater will help ensure water security during times of drought.

    When will it be constructed?

    Construction of the Upper South Creek Advanced Water Recycling Centre is subject to environmental approval and has been identified as critical infrastructure for the regions. There are many stages and we are at the very early planning. Stage 1 will be built by mid-2025 to meet servicing needs and to match the timing of Western Sydney Airport. The balance will likely be constructed by 2034.

    How will nearby property owners be affected?

    We are currently in the early stages of planning, completing many investigations, studies and assessment including assessment of impacts on the environment. Major construction will be required to deliver this infrastructure. We understand there is a lot happening in this area and are working with other agencies and utilities to ensure everyone is talking to each other.

    We are completing many studies and assessments, and finalisation of pipeline routes will determine which property owners may be impacted by the project in the next stages. 

    If we must work on your property, we will do everything we can to return your property to the way we found it.

    Directly impacted property owners will be contacted by Sydney Water at the early planning stages. Sydney Water will work closely with impacted property owners to ensure owners are continually informed and understand how this project will impact you as it moves forward.

    Why is the scoping report important?

    The first step of the approval process is to submit the scoping report to Department of Planning Industry and Environment (DPIE) that describes the project, its strategic context, potential impacts and proposed assessment approach.

    We consider the Upper South Creek Advanced Water Recycling Centre project (the project) State significant infrastructure (SSI) under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, because it is likely to have a significant impact on the environment. 

    The Minister for Planning and Public Spaces is the approval authority. DPIE reviews the application and scoping report and circulates to relevant government agencies to support preparation of Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs). The SEARs specify the matters that we must address in the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). 

    DPIE will make the scoping report, SEARs and all subsequent planning approval documentation publicly available on its major projects website. We have prepared the scoping report in accordance with draft DPIE guidelines. We have spoken to DPIE’s assessment team about our proposed approach to the report. We have held briefings and workshops for a range of government agencies and other partners to attend and ask questions.