What Is Water Recycling

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Recycle: verb l.a.To recover useful materials from garbage or waste. b. To extract and reuse.

While recycling is a term generally applied to aluminum cans, glass bottles, and newspapers, water can be recycled as well. Water recycling is reusing treated wastewater for beneficial purposes such as agricultural and landscape irrigation, industrial processes, toilet flushing, and replenishing a ground water basin (referred to as ground water recharge). Water is sometimes recycled and reused onsite; for example, when an industrial facility recycles water used for cooling processes. A common type of recycled water is water that has been reclaimed from municipal wastewater, or sewage. The term water recycling is generally used synonymously with water reclamation and water reuse.

Through the natural water cycle, the earth has recy cled and reused water for millions of years. Water recycling, though, generally refers to projects that use tech nol ogy to speed up these natural processes. Water recy cling is often characterized as "unplanned" or "planned." A common example of unplanned water re cy cling occurs when cities draw their water supplies from rivers, such as the Colorado River and the Mississippi River, that receive wastewater discharges upstream from those cities. Water from these rivers has been reused, treated, and piped into the water supply a number of times before the last downstream user with draws the water. Planned projects are those that are devel oped with the goal of beneficially reusing a recycled water supply.

The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, located near Phoenix Arizona, uses recycled water for cooling purposes.

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