Oct 30, 2020

Microsoft Funds Quincy Data Center Wastewater Treatment Plant

Quincy, Washington plans to launch a wastewater treatment plant for data centers summer 2021 that is funded by Microsoft.

data board

Quincy, Washington plans to launch a wastewater treatment plant for data centers next summer and this will be funded by Microsoft.

Microsoft will be the main user of the plant. This comes after the Department of Ecology said that Microsoft’s data centers were contributing too high a concentration of minerals to the existing wastewater treatment sites, reported Data Center Dynamics.

Once processed the wastewater will then be returned to the data centers for reuse. 

Microsoft currently operates hundreds of MW of IT on its 270-acre campus in west Quincy.

"Microsoft has been a good partner," said city administrator Pat Haley to Data Center Dynamics. "But initially, you know, they're the big dog and so they thought they could kind of do what they wanted to do. Regulation finally slowed things down, because the Department of Ecology was saying, 'no, wait a minute, you can't quite do what you want to do there as far as the wastewater, and the city has to figure out what to do.” 

The result of this sentiment was the construction of an entirely new Reuse Wastewater Central Facility, specifically for the treated water that comes from the blowback on the data center cooling. 

Although Microsoft will be the main user of the plant, other data centers will be encouraged to join. These data centers would have to pay latecomer fees, the cost of piping to the plant, and standard operations fees, however.

Currently, about 10% of the city's potable water is dedicated to data centers, with 57% going to food processors and 33% residential and commercial, reported Data Center Dynamics. 

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