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NSA Using Wastewater to Cool Data Center

January 14, 2014 By William Opalka

NSAThe National Security Agency will be using wastewater to cool its servers at its data center facility in Fort Meade, Maryland.

Up to five million gallons a day of treated wastewater will be used for cooling systems at the data center, due to open in 2016, as reported in the Baltimore Sun. The wastewater otherwise would be dumped into the Little Patuxent River.

Tap or well water to cool the computers would be expensive and would stress the local aquifer, said Davis. NSA will spend $40 million to build a pumping station at the data center, which will include 70,000 square feet of computer space.

Cooling equipment used to remove heat in data centers accounts for nearly 45 percent of a data center’s energy costs.Reducing those costs benefits not only the data center operator but also the local communities. Recycled water costs are usually 35 to 55 percent of a municipality’s fresh water costs, which increase every year. The NSA is building a large data center in Utah.



2 comments on “NSA Using Wastewater to Cool Data Center

  1. The water will still be “dumped” into the Little Patuxent River, only a bit less of it following evaporation, and with the added heat load of the NSA centre. Let’s hope the Little Patuxent ecosytem is highly tolerant of large exogenous heat shock.

  2. This is not ecologically responsible when air to air indirect cooling would have eliminated the need to evaporate 5 Million gallons x 365 x 10 year minimum life. Only a federal pundit could see this as good. Perhaps relative to using potable water it is but that is a low bar to meet. It is tremendously wasteful of the next precious resource. Masquerading this as ecologically sound is misleading.

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