• 01/13/2014
    12:25 PM
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NSA To Cool New Datacenter With Wastewater

Agency under fire for its data collection initiatives reportedly inks deal to use treated wastewater to cool its future datacenter in Maryland.

The NSA may have a disdain for privacy, but it apparently cares about the environment.

According to a recent report in the Baltimore Sun, the controversial agency has cut a deal to use wastewater supplied by Maryland's Howard County to cool its huge datacenter under construction at Forte Meade. Once the facility opens in 2016, it will use five million gallons of reclaimed wastewater a day, wastewater that would otherwise be dumped into the nearby Little Patuxent River.

The Sun reported that the NSA has agreed to cover the $40 million it will take to build the needed pump station, and will pay up to $2 million additionally each year for the wastewater.

It seems unlikely, however, that instituting such environmentally friendly practices will do much to deflect the intense scrutiny the NSA has been under since the revelations of the agency's massive initiative to collect data on American citizens, detailed in the documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Read the rest of this article on Network Computing.


Surely that's too much?

Maybe I'm just now up on cooling costs, but that seems like a very expensive investment for cooling some servers. Surely you don't need fresh water for cooling? Just get an onsite reservoir, pump it through the heatsinks and then through the radiators; rinse and repeat. 

Why would you need to cover the cost of building a facility and then pay that much for it each year? 

Re: Surely that's too much?

Exactly - smells like a rather expensive PR ploy. Or, maybe, it smells like ... waste water. In fact, it's a gift to headline writers. I can come up with several just off the top of my head.

Course, it's not their money, so who cares?