Apple, Inc. has decided to use sewage water to cool its servers in an innovative way. The electronics giant has agreed to pay for a treatment facility to re-use water for evaporative cooling in its Prineville Data Center. By using recycled water instead of taking it straight from tap, Apple officials say that they will save nearly 5 million gallons of water a year.
Till date, water from the said facility was used to wet city’s golf course or flow to pasture lands or into the crooked river. With the latest funding the treatment center will have the potential to expand considerably to serve new data centers or other industries that might come to Prineville.
Apple is already Prineville’s top water user, consuming around 27 million gallons of water every year. The company has a massive 338,000 square foot data center on the bluff above town, some modular facilities and is building a second, large scale building. It owns 200 more acres nearby with capacity from considerable expansion.
Although, Apple’s web services such as iCloud depend a lot on AWS data centers, its Prineville data plays a crucial role in serving critical services like FaceTime video chat, iMessage texting service and streaming music and videos. The company is using wind energy to power the Prineville data center and said that waste water treatment center is a manifestation of its environmental stewardship.
Apple has 130 employees and contractors working in Prineville, along with 300 construction workers building its new data center. After the new data center becomes fully functional, Apple wants to stop relying on AWS services for data center operations on a complete note.
In addition to re-using water, the city said the treatment center will reduce the mineral content inside Apple’s data center – enabling the company to use it longer for cooling before sending it to the new facility for treatment.
On the other hand, Facebook which also operated a data center in Prineville, uses about 10.5 millions gallons of water a year to cool its facility, most of that drawn from wells on its property. The company may follow Apple and start using grey water in few years of time.