That's A Lot of Water! Emory University Recycles 400,000 Gallons Per Day

Mar 29, 2016 10:30 AM ET

Emory University’s WaterHub is able to treat wastewater on-site and meet nearly 40% of the University’s water needs, which should save it millions of dollars over the next 20 years. 

Is 400,000 a large number? I suppose that depends.

On the one hand, if I were counting stars in our galaxy, that would be a tiny number. Conservative estimates put the total number at about 100 billion stars in the Milky Way. On the other hand, if I were counting how many Peeps marshmallows it would take to give me a bellyache, I would tap out well before 400,000. Side note – I hope everyone had a wonderful and bellyache-free Easter.

What if we were talking about gallons of water? Again, it depends. The Horseshoe waterfalls at Niagara Falls have about 600,000 gallons of water drop every second. On the other extreme is 0.5 gallons, or the amount of water we are supposed to drink per day to stay healthy. See? Relative.

So is 400,000 gallons of on-site recycled water per day, accounting for nearly 40% of Emory University’s water needs, a large number? Yes, I think “large” is an appropriate label, along with “surprising” and “impressive” and “super cool.”

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Valerie Bennett
Ray C. Anderson Foundation
+1 (770) 317-5858