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Tongji to Recycle Water

Tongji University will begin recycling water from student showers next month, to refill a man-made lake on campus, irrigate grass and plants, and hopefully save some money.

The recycling project, which is expected to cost 1.2 million yuan (US$144,578), should be operational by next year.

The school will become the first in Shanghai to recycling water from student bathing facilities, Tongji officials said.

Designed by Tongji's environment department, the water recycling system involves three major steps: solid waste removal, membrane filtering and micro-creature processing.

Waste water from showers will be collected and processed to remove hair, soap, shampoo and any other impurities.

The processed water will be used to refill the campus lake or water flowers and trees on campus. The university will install a real-time monitoring system at end of the cleaning system to ensure the processed water meets quality standards. Students will also perform spot checks on a regular basis to ensure the water quality, project officials said.

"We do expect the pilot project could save the university's huge water costs and create an energy-saving environment on campus," said Hu Chengyi, director of Tongji's energy management center.

About 100,000 tons of water evaporates from the man-made lake or soak into the ground each year. Since the campus doesn't receive enough rain water each year to refill the lake, the university has to spend 200,000 to 300,000 yuan a year on tap water to keep the lake full, Hu said.

Campus showers discharge 140,000 tons of water a year, enough to keep the lake full.

"Despite annual operation costs of 20,000 yuan, the system could still save a large amount of money for us," Hu said.

(Shanghai Daily June 27, 2005)

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