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back to article Google cools data center with bathtubs, dishwashers

Google has partnered with a local water-treatment utility to cool a massive data center using greywater – that's water recycled from residential bathtubs, showers, washing machines, and the like. The data center in question is located in Douglas County, Georgia – that's the Georgia of Sherman's March to the Sea, not the Georgia …

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Big Brother

So no more peeing in the shower in Douglas County then, huh?

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Marge to Homer:

I don't mind if you pee in the shower, but only if you're taking a shower.

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Orv

How are they getting a separate stream?

I'm curious how they're getting greywater as a separate stream from sewage; in every US city I've been familiar with, they all arrive at the treatment plant in the same pipe.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How are they getting a separate stream?

If it's anything like their search results there'll be no separation...

Shit in... Shit out

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How are they getting a separate stream?

That's what I thought, Grey water in this case refers to partially treated recycled water, so if it includes residential then it's a mix of sewage and everything else or it could be non-residential (rainwater runoff etc.but I don't know it that's kept separate either) that's then been mostly treated/purified but not to the standard of drinking water.

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Orv

Re: How are they getting a separate stream?

Stormwater runoff is kept separate in newer systems, but is combined in some older ones. (The reason it's kept separate now is the sudden influx of water during a heavy storm can exceed the plant capacity and cause a sewage overflow, which is generally frowned on these days.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How are they getting a separate stream?

If its like a domestic septic tank, it goes into a settling tank, solids sink and the top layers are fairly clean. In fact clean enough to enter a soak away which seeps away into the landscape.

I presume its a similar thing for main infrastructure, with some added steps to cater for all the chemicals and weird stuff people put down their toilets

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Thumb Down

Re: How are they getting a separate stream?

Because they're getting the grey water *AFTER* it's been through treatment, not *BEFORE*.

Oyyyyyy... READ man, READ.

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Pint

If you don't like Google

Send them a message.

Just piss in your shower/storm water drain.

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Pint

Aged urine

also known as 'lant', used to be actively collected and used for many things, cleaning floors and flavouring beer being two of them.

Now you know where the term 'on the piss' comes from.

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grey water for flushing toilets

There have been ideas for using waste water from washing machine for flushing toilets. Seems to be a good idea.

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Re: grey water for flushing toilets

When I was in Japan in the mid-'90s, I used toilets that had tank lids that had sink basins molded into them. The fill line for the toilet ran up to a faucet head above the tank lid; fill water ran out of the faucet into the basin in the tank lid, then into the tank. So you flushed the toilet and washed your hands right there using the fill stream, and that greywater filled the tank.

There was a soap dish molded into the tank lid too, of course. If you wanted to wash with hot water, you'd have to use the sink; but IME even getting some people to wash with cold water is a win.

These days, it's become fairly popular in "green building" circles in the US to talk about separate grey- and blackwater DWV systems in new houses, and make the grey available at outside taps for things like watering the lawn and washing the car. How often these systems are actually implemented I don't know.

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Meh

True believers

If Google really believes their discharge is cleaner than their intake then they should be happy to discharge upstream from their intake. This is not what the diagram shows.

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JLH

Re: True believers

Yes - but the discharge is HOTTER

If you took an intake from downstream of your outtake you would end up heating the same water again and again. There has to be a temperature difference between the hot water which comes from your server room pipe loops and the water which you are using for cooling - too close a difference and you aren't able to transfer much heat into the cooling water. Identical temperatures of course and you can't transfer any.

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Why don't they use the water for district heating as well?

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Effluent temperature

Am I right in thinking that the effluent water coming out of Google's plants will be considerably warmer than what went in beforehand?

If this is the case, would any of the ecologists out there explain to me what the environmental impact will be on heating up the Hooch [1]?

[1] A great nickname for a river. It sounds like slang for alcohol.

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Mushroom

Re: Effluent temperature

From the diagram in TFA, it appears that the water used in cooling goes through a treatment process before discharge into the Hooch. Perhaps it cools off a bit during processing?

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JLH

Re: Effluent temperature

I was a boy in the town in Scotland which had the huge Singer plant. They had their own power station for the factory, which discharged warm water into the Forth and Clyde Canal. The canal was populated with enormous foot long (and larger) goldfish.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Effluent temperature

That was the Irn-Bru. Nothing to do with the water. You think that orange glow they had was natural?

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Anonymous Coward

Looks like marketing BS

As above noted, black/greywater goes in the same line in practically all cities. After it it is cleaned in a water treatment facility. In Finland we call it technical water. I.e. that is water that is clean enough to be discharged to nature. Which is then discharged to the natural water system (river/lake/sea) in a location that has high enough current to dilute the technical water to the water system.

From the diagram attached to this article you would expect, that 70% of grey water is going straight to river and only 30% goes trough Google facilities and are treated properly before dispatched to the nature. Happy swimming, if that is true. In Finland that would be illegal arrangement. Especially to a river system.

NOTE: This technical water is still not safe enough to be drink; refer to Water crisis in City of Nokia (8k of 30k inhabitants got sick 2007 due illegal piping and other malpractices in a water treatment facility). That's why it is important that it is not discharged to a still water.

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