A Google data center near Atlanta is recycling waste water to cool the thousands of servers housed in the facility, and then purifying the excess water so it can be released into the Chattahoochee River. The project to use “grey water” in Atlanta is part of Google’s broader program to reduce the impact of its data centers on the environment and local community.
“A typical data center can use hundreds of thousands of gallons of water a day. When we first built the Georgia facility in 2007, the water we used came from the local potable (drinking) water supply,” Google explained.
“But we soon realized that the water we used didn’t need to be clean enough to drink,” it said.
“So we talked to the Douglasville-Douglas County Water and Sewer Authority (known locally as the WSA) about setting up a system that uses reuse water—also known as grey- or recycled water—in our cooling infrastructure,” it added.
Google taps into about 30 percent of reuse water from the local treatment plant, pipes it through its data center and then diverts whatever doesn’t evaporate in the process into another treatment plant it built specifically for this project.
There, the dirty water is cleaned up with disinfectants and by removing any mineral solids from it.
The water then goes back to the river cleaner. Not only is Google keeping its servers cool without using up precious drinking water supplies, it’s also cleaning up 30 percent of the partially recycled water that would have otherwise made its way back into the river untreated.