Toilets Use Reclaimed Water To Save Energy

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Has anyone on campus noticed the toilet water is a little more yellow recently?

Last month GCC began using reclaimed water, instead of fresh water, to flush out toilets. The Arroyo Seco, Camino Real, San Gabriel, and Library buildings are now using reclaimed water.

The water has a slight discoloration, even though it has been heavily processed, filtered and chlorinated. This is the same water that has been used to water the grass and planted areas.

The Reclaimed Water Project at GCC started six years ago when the city of Glendale decided to begin to install reclaimed water irrigation lines, said Lawrence Serot, vice president of administrative services.

City officials approached the campus with the idea of converting reclaimed water, which not only saves money, but is also environmentally friendly. Using reclaimed water can save an equal amount of drinking water every year, because the drinkable water is not flushed away or used to water the lawn.

This water conservation is based on the fact that water can be used more than once, rather than becoming waste after one use.

Not all water uses require the water to be of fresh quality. “The City has been developing programs to use reclaimed water for suitable landscaping and industrial uses,” says the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) Web site.

Glendale is a city that has greatly adapted to use
reclaimed water. The

Los Angeles/Glendale Water Reclamation Plant, located at 4600 Colorado Blvd. in Los Angeles, is jointly owned by the cities of Los Angeles and Glendale, however, the city of Los Angeles is responsible for the plant’s operation, says the State Water Resources Control Board Web site.

The LADWP has plans to use the Los Angeles/Glendale Water Reclamation Plant to supply more than 400 million gallons per year to four large irrigation customers nearby, says the LADWP Web site.

“The Los Angeles/Glendale Water Reclamation Plant provides reclaimed water in the city of Glendale for non-potable uses such as irrigation,” says the official city of Glendale Web site. “The Reclamation Plant has a capacity of 20 million gallons per day and has been delivering recycled water to the City since the late 1970s.”

“Based on a contract between the Cities of Los Angeles and Glendale, the City is entitled to 50 percent of any effluent produced at the plant or 10 million acre-feet per year.” The city uses a great amount of reclaimed water; “the City presently utilizes approximately 1,400 acre-feet per year of reclaimed water from the Reclamation Plant,” says the official city of Glendale Web site.

“Plans are underway to further develop water reclamation for Los Angeles. Its use, however, is limited by state health requirements and the high cost of pumping plants and distribution facilities to deliver water from the reclamation plants to the customers,” says the LADWP Web site.

“Glendale recently completed construction of a recycled water distribution system consisting of pipelines, pumping plants, and storage tanks to deliver recycled water to users,” says the official city of Glendale Web site. “The objective of this expansion is to eventually increase the use of recycled water to meet 10 percent of Glendale’s total water demands.”

GCC changed the irrigation for reclaimed water for many buildings, since “there is no reason for toilets to use fresh water,” said Serot. This water is only used in the toilets; the sinks still use fresh water.

A problem that was encountered in changing the irrigation for reclaimed water at GCC was that of sanitation. If reclaimed water lines do not work, there would be no way to flush the toilets. The solution provided by the city of Glendale six months ago as a valve that if turned one way would give fresh water and the other way for reclaimed water.
These valves are very costly; therefore this change to use reclaimed water was prompted by the effect on the environment and conservation purposes, said Serot. “More money is spent on filters rather than saving the college money.”

Water conservation is not new to GCC. Waterless urinals have been used at the college for some time now, said Serot. Waste is trapped in filters and disposed of later into the sewer system. Using these urinals saves up to 80,000 gallons of water per year.

Whether or not students celebrated Earth Week April 22 to May 1, they can know that GCC is taking steps forward in water conservation with reclaimed water.