Reclaimed water can be used in a variety of ways for purposes that typically do not require drinking water quality. Reclaimed water is a great option for water conservation and has residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional uses. Reclaimed water systems manage wastewater and allow it to be safely reused for many purposes including:
- landscape irrigation
- toilet and urinal flushing
- supply water for ornamental ponds
- cooling water for computer or electronic equipment
Howard County’s Water Reuse Division oversees the program. Please visit their webpage for more info.
Howard County Supplies NSA With Cooling Water
Howard County supplies the National Security Agency (NSA) with millions of gallons of treated wastewater per day for a computer cooling system. NSA installed a pump station and pays the County for the treated wastewater that would otherwise be discharged directly into the Little Patuxent River which flows to the Chesapeake Bay. The majority of the water sent to NSA will evaporate during the cooling process but some water condenses and is discharged in the Little Patuxent River. Howard County and NSA worked together to ensure the river levels will not be affected with the reduced output, nor will the temperature of the discharging water alter the river’s ecosystem. By recycling this wastewater for another use (cooling), NSA is not adding stress to our ground water supply or utilizing drinking water from the reservoir systems.