Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Los Alamos reduces water use by 26 percent in 2014

The Lab decreased its water usage by 26 percent, with about one-third of the reduction attributable to using reclaimed water to cool a supercomputing center.
March 16, 2015
Los Alamos National Laboratory sits on top of a once-remote mesa in northern New Mexico with the Jemez mountains as a backdrop to research and innovation covering multi-disciplines from bioscience, sustainable energy sources, to plasma physics and new materials.

Los Alamos National Laboratory sits on top of a once-remote mesa in northern New Mexico with the Jemez mountains as a backdrop to research and innovation covering multi-disciplines from bioscience, sustainable energy sources, to plasma physics and new materials.

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Our goal during 2014 was to use only re-purposed water to support our mission at the Strategic Computing Complex (SCC), and we achieved that goal,” said Cheryl Cabbil.

Use of reclaimed water fuels decrease

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., March 16, 2015—Los Alamos National Laboratory decreased its water usage by 26 percent in 2014, with about one-third of the reduction attributable to using reclaimed water to cool a supercomputing center.

“Our goal during 2014 was to use only re-purposed water to support our mission at the Strategic Computing Complex (SCC), and we achieved that goal,” said Cheryl Cabbil, associate director of Nuclear and High Hazard Operations, which administers the Sanitary Effluent Reclamation Facility (SERF).

Saving Water at Los Alamos National Laboratory
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Saving Water at Los Alamos National Laboratory

The reclamation facility contributed more than 27 million gallons of re-purposed water to the SCC, a secured supercomputing facility that supports the Laboratory’s national security mission and is one of the institution’s larger water users.

“Using reclaimed water from SERF substantially decreased our water usage, supporting our overall mission,” Cabbil said.

SERF collects industrial wastewater and treats it for reuse. A video that explains how SERF works is available online.

In addition to the strategic water reuse program at SERF, the Laboratory reduced water use in 2014 by focusing conservation efforts on areas that use the most water, repairing leaks identified in routine surveys and upgrading to water-conserving fixtures.

“Part of our role as good stewards of the environment is to conserve finite resources such as water whenever possible,” said Michael Brandt, associate director of Environment, Safety and Health at the Laboratory. “Conserving water while achieving our mission is a great example of how we are pursuing long-term environmental sustainability.”

About Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, BWXT Government Group, and URS, an AECOM company, for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.


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