Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Cools Data Center With Bathroom Water

Comments Filter:
  • by bman08 (239376) on Monday March 19, 2012 @08:55AM (#39401925)
    does not have the electrolytes data centers crave.
  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday March 19, 2012 @08:55AM (#39401927)
    I...I am not even sure what say to that...
  • ...be ~higher~ if I was there, expecially after the two-bottle-of-vodka bender that would precede my visit...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 19, 2012 @08:56AM (#39401943)

    (rimshot)

  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Monday March 19, 2012 @08:57AM (#39401953) Homepage

    Apparently evaporation is the tendency for young women on spring break to get drunk and engage in civil disobedience of public indecency laws. Somehow, this is related to cooling.

    • I like that you phrased the aforementioned behavior as 'civil disobedience.' I'm going to have to remember that one.
    • by Walterk (124748)

      It has a chilling effect on the nation's moral fibre.

    • Apparently evaporation is the tendency for young women on spring break to get drunk and engage in civil disobedience of public indecency laws. Somehow, this is related to cooling.

      Hence the saying "all the cool kids do it".

  • by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:02AM (#39401995)

    Engineers have been considering approaches like this for ages. It's good to see it being put into practice.

    As best I can tell, one of the biggest hurdles is local waste-handling laws. When we had a local drought a few years ago, we were saving wash water to put on our outdoor plants -- but that was a violation of local policy, because cooties from your dirty clothes might get into The Environment, contaminating all the bird and squirrel and cat and dog waste that's already there.

    I'm sure Google's treatment policies have satisfied the local authorities, and if they're proceeding with the project, I'm sure they've found a way that's cost-effective.

    • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:20AM (#39402125)
      There is a form for everything. In some states in the US, it's illegal for you to collect and use rainwater for anything. States grant exclusive right to water catchment to various water companies, so for anyone else to capture that water before it reaches the reservoir is effectively stealing.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        While it may sound ridiculous, it becomes less ridiculous once you remember that many states are almost all desert, and thus water collection and usage really does need a management system that wouldn't be the case elsewhere.
  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:03AM (#39402003)
    Haven't you ever heard of filters, guys? I mean big cloth or paper things that get stretched on big frames and then the water gets pumped through them and all the muck gets extracted, not the sort of filters that IT people know about. Have you ever stopped to think about the amount of mud in a water reservoir after the wind and rain have whipped it up a bit? Doesn't get in your drinking water, does it?

    I am afraid that my opinion of the IQ of the average /. reader just dropped an infinitesimal amount.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      " water gets pumped through them and all the muck gets extracted, not the sort of filters that IT people know about. "

      No that's pretty close to how firewalls work.

      • Firewalls (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:23AM (#39402143)
        My experience of firewalls and water treatment is this: that water treatment is designed and operated by some extremely professional people who know exactly what they are doing, and that this is not often the case for firewalls. Given how some firewalls are configured, the water treatment analogy would be to stop most things and restrict the flow of the water, while letting the really nasty bugs through.

        OT but possibly of interest: the daughter of a friend of ours studied environmental biology at university. Her mother wondered what use it could possibly be. As a researcher into water treatment, she is now into her second paid postgraduate placement with the prospect of a very well paid international job at the end of it. Oil may be sexier, but water is actually the more important resource.

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          "My experience of firewalls and water treatment is this: that water treatment is designed and operated by some extremely professional people who know exactly what they are doing, and that this is not often the case for firewalls. "

          I used to work in the world of Water Treatment. No, they are not "extremely professional people who know exactly what they are doing" I was one of those guys for over 7 years. Many times we just would crank in more Chlorine or Alum to see if it worked.

          • Well, the three water treatment specialists I know include two PhDs and a mere MSc, who between them have done research into everything from rural water purification in Africa to the adhesion of bacterial colonies on permanent water hardness deposition in domestic pipes. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.
        • My experience of firewalls and water treatment is this:

          Mine is that the water puts the fire out.

          water treatment is designed and operated by some extremely professional people

          But it only takes one extremely incompetent one to bugger it all up. [wikipedia.org]

    • by Sique (173459)

      But normally you don't use the sieve type of filters. Sieves tend to get clogged very easily. Normally you use a three-chamber-system. The first two chambers are connected near the bottom, the third one connects to the second chamber via a spillover. Untreated water enters the first chamber, and all swimming particles stay there. Heavier particles sink to the bottom. The water enters the second chamber via the connection and is mainly clean of any swimming particles, while still containing some heavier soli

    • Have you ever stopped to think about the amount of mud in a water reservoir after the wind and rain have whipped it up a bit? Doesn't get in your drinking water, does it?

      An almost miniscule portion of said mud does so - because the designers of such reservoirs aren't stupid and place the intakes well away from the shores/edges and inflows, where 99.9999% of such debris is. Not to mention you vastly overestimate the amount of mud and debris "whipped up" in the first place.

      I am afraid that my opinion

      • I'm not about to get into a pissing match on this because my original comment was a two-minute squib intended to be semi-humorous (how much is infinitesimal? It's as close to zero as you can get without being at zero.) Had I known it would be extensively reviewed by experts like yourself, I think I would have expressed myself more carefully. Did I say reservoir designers were stupid? I'm sorry if you are one and think your profession has been impugned...because I didn't. I was actually making the point that
  • Star Trek (Score:4, Funny)

    by maroberts (15852) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:06AM (#39402019) Homepage Journal

    Kirk: The cooling system to the warp drive is down again Scotty. How soon can you fix it?
    Scotty: Ach Jim, I'm a warp drive engineer, not a plumber....

  • by zenyu (248067) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:06AM (#39402021)

    I'm no potty expert, but I thought that water that is output from a toilet is called black water, water collected from the bathtub, and kitchen are called grey water, and what they are actually using is called treated water.

    Am I just behind the times on the terminology or is the article's writer just being sloppy?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tverbeek (457094)

      The writer is being sloppy (or confused).

    • by txmcse (937355)
      You are correct. the writer was just being sloppy.
    • by EmagGeek (574360)

      Correct. They are using treated water, which is neither Black nor Grey water.

  • by RenHoek (101570) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:07AM (#39402025) Homepage

    Pooping in the sink,
    pooping in the sink,
    I'm clogging up their coolers
    'cause I'm pooping in the sink!

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      I know you're joking, but garbage disposals have to have their own share of nasty chunks and bacteria.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:10AM (#39402047) Homepage

    They need to stop the free soda and lemonade bar.

  • Party time (Score:5, Funny)

    by halfkoreanamerican (2566687) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:11AM (#39402051) Homepage
    "Google has just won first place in a wet t-shirt contest" was all I read. I don't think that was even written anywhere.
  • by oneiros27 (46144) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:11AM (#39402055) Homepage

    What comes from toilets is 'black water [wikipedia.org]', but 'grey water'. Grey comes from showers, washing machines, etc. It's specifically that which has been used, but has a low risk of pathogens in it.

    From the article, it sounds like they're using a blend of the two ... but they never linked to the March 15th Jim Brown blog post [blogspot.com]. From reading his blog, he states, "We worked with the WSA to build a side-stream plant about five miles west of our data center that diverts up to 30 percent of the water that would have gone back into the river", while the article linked to states "about 30 percent of the water is diverted from the WSA system".

    The article makes it sound like they're getting the water *before* it would have been cleaned by the water treatment plant ... from the blog post, I'd say it's after it's been treated, and getting it before it would have been sent back to the river. So it's treated wastewater, which would've already gone through some sort of system to remove pathogens.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      So it's treated wastewater, which would've already gone through some sort of system to remove pathogens.

      There's a park I've been to a few times and it has a beach.
      The park also has a water treatment plant in its midst that discharges into the waters of the beach area.

      I got to talking with one of the park rangers and he told me he wouldn't let his dog swim in that water.
      "Treated" doesn't necessarily mean what we think it means. It isn't sterile and you shouldn't let it get into any mucous membranes or open wounds.

  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:22AM (#39402139) Homepage Journal

    Usually "gray" water is water from showers, sinks, etc. -- everything but toilets. Water from toilets, including human wastes, is called "black" water. Some systems keep these separate, although most municipal systems (including, it appears, Douglas County, Georgia) mix them together. So this water starts out as "black", but according to TFA, it's partially cleaned up before being sent to the data center. Apparently it's treated enough to be called "gray", but still isn't potable. Then Google finishes the water treatment and releases the result into the river which is where it would have gone after the county treatment center anyway.

  • Given the high humidity of the South East I would think they could be better served with high efficiency air conditioners and some sort of solar to help offset the costs.
    • by jbengt (874751)
      Though TFA did not really say, they would not typically be directly cooling the data center with water cooled by evaporation. They would be rejecting heat from their refrigeration equipment (probably water chillers, possibly other types) and using the refrigeration systems to cool the air. The advantage of a water-cooled AC equipment is that the cooling tower water is typically heated up by the refrigeration equipment from 85F to 95F and then cooled back down by evaporation. Whereas air-cooled refrigerat
  • by goffster (1104287) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:29AM (#39402195)

    Garbage in, Garbage out?

  • by Oswald McWeany (2428506) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:37AM (#39402241)

    Let me guess.

    The servers are all going to overheat on Seis de Mayo. All the spicy food the day before will be warming up the cooling water.

  • by Certhas (2310124) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:37AM (#39402249)

    until the shit hits the fan...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They're not using greywater. Greywater is untreated non-human-waste water, like from sinks and showers. Google is using the water which has already been treated by the waste water treatment plant and would otherwise be delivered back to a river. It's not pure enough to drink, but it isn't bathwater. It's purity is somewhere in between tap water and river water, with almost zero "floaties".

    But yay poop jokes. Who knew /. had so many 4th graders?

  • by thesandbender (911391) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:52AM (#39402383)
    My g/f's from Japan and when we went to visit recently I noticed a lot of homes had toilets with a sink built into the top of the toilet tank. When you flushed, the water to fill the tank came out a faucet and you could wash your hands with it. Not only recycles but saves room in a 1/2 bath... a simple little thing we should see more of here in the states. As an example... [treehugger.com]
    • by MightyYar (622222)

      That is a great idea. I don't live somewhere with a water scarcity problem (I don't even have a water-saving washing machine), but that is a good idea.

  • by digitalsolo (1175321) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:16AM (#39402639) Homepage
    Sounds like a pretty crappy design to me.
  • There are small systems that can produce recyclable water even for single family homes. The National Sanitation Foundation now has NSF Standard 350 so manufacturers can test to a protocol and become certified. The water can be used (depending on state code) to fill toilets, urinals, water the lawn, wash your car, lots of non potable uses. Right now there is only one device certified, the Bio-Microbics Bio-Barrier http://www.biomicrobics.com/?p=59 [biomicrobics.com] However several other manufacturers are now testing. Recycled

  • ...but a giant floating corncob.

  • I have to admit I had to read the TFA in order to understand how the hell this system works.
    So they use open circuit cooling towers with cleanish water coming from a sewage treatment plant.
    Those wet cooling towers are known for being prone to Legionellosis, even when clean water is used.
    This problem probably becomes worse with dirty water.
    I wouldn't like to be the technician cleaning and repairing those towers.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun

Working...