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Our view of water has drastically changed over the past decade. More and more, water is being considered a valuable resource rather than a commodity that is available in abundance. Water is a critical raw material that is required to some degree in every industry. With increasing pressures to decrease cost per unit produced and optimize raw material usage to stay competitive, industries are starting to look at optimizing and decreasing their use of water. In fact, in some regions where extreme droughts are occurring, the cost of water has increased significantly. In some cases the future availability of water is in question altogether, threatening the practicability of continued operations.

The electric power industry is the second largest user of water in the United States, second only to agriculture. Large volumes of water are required for evaporative cooling to generate electricity. As the demand for power continues to increase, so does the demand on our water resources. Over 90 percent of the water used for evaporative cooling is sent to the atmosphere and not immediately and directly returned to a water body. This strain on the environment has become a limiting factor in the siting of new power facilities.

An innovative approach to reducing the strain on natural water sources is to use reclaimed water, such as. municipal wastewater treatment effluent, as a source of water for the evaporative cooling requirements at power plants. This paper will discuss the pros and cons of using reclaim water as an evaporative cooling water supply as well as for other process water requirements (e.g., general plant use, boiler water makeup, etc.). Treatment requirements, regulatory/discharge impacts, capital requirements, and operability issues will be presented and discussed. Examples and/or case histories of using reclaimed water as a water source will be discussed. Finally, the applicability of this technique to other industries will be introduced, and examples of reclaim water use in other industries will be presented.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864703784343578

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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