Thursday, July 19, 2007
Impressive Watering Hole
Yesterday the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee (BOCOG) showed a group of journalists what it's doing to create a sustainable environment for next year's Games.
They took the media to the Qinghe Water Reclamation Plant, which is in the north of the city. Before they could inspect the actual plant, reporters had to sit through a series of presentations that explained 90 per cent of Beijing's sewage is treated and up to 46 per cent of the water collected is reused in a variety of ways.
The city has four of these treatment plants and two reused water pumping stations processing 2.5 cubic metres of water per day and using the reclaimed water for industrial cooling, agricultural irrigation, watering the city's plants and washing cars. This significantly cuts down on Beijing's dependence on the lakes and rivers in the surrounding area.
First the water is separated from the sewage, then it goes through a "membrane" system, a series of fibrous material and then the water flows into a carbon filtration tank and is oxidized with ozone to make it relatively clean. The water is not fit for human consumption.
This water will be used at major Olympic venues, for example watering the plants, washing cars, or filling ponds.
The water treatment plant was pretty impressive, with giant tanks outside and inside holding wastewater to reclaimed water. The left over sludge is processed into fertilizer for agricultural use.
Not all buildings in Beijing use the reclaimed water yet, as not all the pipes have been laid to distribute it. But once that happens, the city will definitely be ahead of many others who are still trying to figure out how to recycle water or find the money to build the infrastructure.