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National Validation Framework - Priority Research


Impact theme: More about impact themes
Guidelines and Validation


Currently, there is no consistent approach to validating treatment technologies against the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling, making existing recycled water scheme validation slow, complex and costly due to differences regarding the validation required to gain regulatory approval across jurisdictions. This project aims to deliver a national framework for validating treatment technologies.

Stage 1 of the National Validation (NatVal) project had two core outcomes:

  • Creation of the Protocol Development Group (PDG) with responsibility for developing nationally accepted guidelines for validating water recycling technologies (NatVal 2.1)
  • Identification of knowledge gaps that act as barriers to a national validation framework, resulting in a research program to addressing these gaps and develop associated validation protocols (NatVal 2.2).

NatVal 2.1 and 2.2 are progressing in parallel and are intrinsically linked to ensure that the outcomes of the research activities directly feed into the overall framework. The NatVal 2.2 research program comprises five sub-projects on:


Each sub-project aims to generate and assemble the necessary technical information to deliver validation protocols that integrate seamlessly into the national validation framework and support its implementation.

Three of the five sub-projects (SP1, SP2 and SP3) are dedicated to developing validation protocols for specific treatment processes; two sub-projects (SP4 and SP5) focus on research that supports the validation of treatment processes generally. All sub-projects share some technical or research elements and will benefit from alignment of approaches and direct exchange of data. Some essential interfacing points and links are being managed at program level:

  • Collecting research and industry data on the validation of water recycling technologies
  • Identifying adequate pathogen indicators and surrogates for each treatment process
  • Applying common best-practice pathogen testing methods
  • Statistical methods for analysis of water quality and process data
  • Defining operational boundaries and operating parameters for treatment processes

Presentations from the Ozwater'14 conference workshop Towards national validation guidelines for water recycling in Australia are available here.


Work undertaken and outcomes to date

Interaction and flow of information between the PDG and researchers has been a priority. A validation protocol template issued by the PDG has allowed sub-project leaders to draft technology-specific validation protocols and established a consistent structure for program deliverables.

A consistent set of objectives has fostered alignment between sub-projects; SP4 and SP5 have guided other sub-projects on integrating validation data and pathogen testing, respectively. SP1 to 3 have engaged with utilities and the private sector and started sampling and testing in numerous sites. The Centre has facilitated engagement with partners through simple access and information sharing agreements.
The program is continuing to leverage the outputs of a number of previous or concurrent research projects involving national and international organisations such as the WateReuse Research Foundation in the USA.


Adoption and impact

Direct engagement with utilities providing actual validation data, as well as access to pilot and full-scale facilities, provides opportunities for immediate adoption, and guarantees that the validation protocols developed by researchers meet the requirements of key stakeholders including state regulators, utilities and the private sector.


Project Partners

Lead organisation: Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence
Partner organisations: CSIRO
Curtin University
Griffith University
Koch Membrane Systems
Melbourne Water
National Measurement Institute
SA Water
  South East Water
  Sydney Water Corporation
  The University of New South Wales
  The University of Queensland
  Victoria University
  WA Water Corporation


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