City Weighs Recycling of Home Water

Local housing authorities are planning to adopt new technologies to generate “middle level” water - or recycled water in common parlance - in new residential areas, in an attempt to save water.

After biochemical and disinfections treatment, the recycled water will be used to irrigate greenbelts, wash cars, and even clean toilets, according to officials with the Municipal Housing Development Bureau.

The quality of “middle level” water is lower than common tap water - or so-called “high level” water - although the standards for bacteria and chlorine content are just as strict as they are for tap water production. The major difference is the oxygen content of recycled water which is hard to trace in tap water, officials said.

"The more oxygen the recycled water has, the more organic matter it will contain, and hence worse its quality. But since the water will not be used for drinking or bathing, it is not necessary for it to have tap water quality, meaning getting rid of all the oxygen content," said Xu Hanzhong, a senior engineer with the bureau's housing industry department.

He said the bureau has allotted about 1.2 million yuan (US$144,000) for development of this new water-saving method, said to be popular in countries like the United States and Israel.

From the year-end, four new real estate projects will invest millions of yuan to build recycling facilities within the residential areas, as well as lay separate pipelines into individual houses to collect drained water used for bathing or washing, which will be treated in a workshop and then pumped back.

Moreover, rain water will be collected and recycled through the pipes as well.

“The recycled water will be safe,” Xu said, cautioning, however, that it will not be suitable for drinking or bathing.

Situ Fukang, the director for one of the four projects, "Olympic Garden," located in suburban Songjiang District, revealed that construction for the 3-million yuan recycling system will begin in December and will start operations around the middle of next year. The 67-hectare project will house 7,000 families after the completion of the first phase.

( October 24, 2001)

In This Series

Goals Set to Save Water Resources

Cleaner Water Expected With More Government Budget

Beijing Toilets to Save Water

Water Resources Survey to Be Conducted

Technologies Key to China's Water Conservancy



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