No land available for your water recycling plant? Do what Beijing's doing

Wed, 2016-05-25 06:00 -- Doug Peeples

If you were shopping for land in Beijing, you might be shocked to find the price tag hovering at around $8,000 per square yard. Land is that valuable there. But what do you do if you need to build a 40-acre water recycling plant for the city? You probably would be tempted to do what a Beijing public service company did: build it underground. — Doug Peeples

Beijing has far less water than the national average to supply its residents, according to the Chinese government. The city has plans for several water recycling plants and has also used water diversion to bolster its water supply. But it hasn't been enough.

The largest of the water treatment projects the city has planned to deal with the shortage will be completed in June, according to plant operating company Beijing Drainage Group. The 40-acre Huaifang Water Recycling Plant will treat 200 million cubic meters of sewage per year. The plant is located in southwest Beijing — underground — to preserve scarce and very valuable land.

It is said to be the largest underground water treatment plant in Asia.

The plant will treat household and industrial wastewater with a variety of techniques and processes, including filtration, and UV sterilization. The treated water will then be available for industrial and commercial uses and will be added to local waterways.

According to Beijing officials, the project also will provide a significant boost to city efforts for environmental protection.

The project also calls for a wetlands park to be developed on the land above the treatment plant, which will be supplied with water from the plant.

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Doug Peeples is a Portland, Oregon-based writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartccouncil on Twitter.