Industrial water recycling project to save millions of gallons of drinking water a year in California

May 21, 2010
LEHIGH VALLEY, PA, May 21, 2010 -- Air Products' manufacturing facility in Santa Clara, Calif., has installed a new water treatment system that uses recycled water instead of potable water in its industrial cooling process...

• Air Products converts to recycled water at its manufacturing operation in Santa Clara, Calif.

LEHIGH VALLEY, PA, May 21, 2010 -- Air Products' manufacturing facility in Santa Clara, Calif., has installed a new water treatment system that uses recycled water instead of potable (drinking) water in its industrial cooling process. The conversion to recycled water conserves nearly 62 million gallons of drinking water annually for Milpitas, the City of Santa Clara and San Jose residents and significantly reduces Air Products' water costs.

Air Products is now one of the largest among more than 550 customers connected to the South Bay Water Recycling (SBWR) recycled water line, which consists of more than 100 miles of pipe delivering 15 million gallons of recycled water per day from the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Plant in Alviso. SBWR preserves valuable drinking water by distributing recycled water for non-drinking uses, such as irrigating food crops, parks, schools, golf courses and business-park landscaping, as well as cooling buildings and industrial processes.

According to Luke Charpentier, Air Products Santa Clara site manager, the project represents a win-win situation for both the company and the citizens of Santa Clara. "Air Products strives to find sustainable solutions for its day-to-day operations, and one way to meet that goal is to reduce water consumption. With our new recycled water treatment system, we are reducing our water costs while conserving valuable drinking water for our community."

The extension of the SBWR pipeline to Air Products' property was made possible through funding from the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for California. Approximately a third of the $750,000 project cost was spent to construct and install the pipeline to the facility. Additionally, Air Products invested additional monies to connect to the new line, improve water chemistry controls, and upgrade the systems for recycled water. All recycled water pipes are color-coded purple, a national standard used to identify recycled water.

"The use of recycled water is playing a significant and growing role as part of the solution to water issues in the western United States," said Donald R. Glaser, director of the Bureau of Reclamation's Mid-Pacific Region. "Projects like this demonstrate the importance of corporate leadership and public-private partnerships in developing supplemental water supplies. They also show that President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds are helping the economy of local communities and demonstrating the overall commitment to infrastructure to make efficient use of the limited water resource."

Limited drinking water supplies will continue to tighten across the state of California. To meet the 2020 forecasted drinking water demands, the Santa Clara Valley Water District has identified that 10 percent of the total water supply for Santa Clara County must come from recycled water.

"We are pleased to have Air Products on board as one of our largest customers on the system," said Patricia M. Mahan, Mayor of the City of Santa Clara. "Together we are demonstrating our commitment to match appropriate water sources to suitable uses. Water recycling reduces the amount of fresh water that is discharged from the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant into the delicate salt marshes of the South San Francisco Bay. This helps to protect the environment and ensure a sustainable water supply for the future."

Air Products employs 35 people at its Santa Clara facility where it operates an air separation plant producing oxygen, nitrogen and argon for industrial applications. The site also serves as a distribution center for electronic specialty gases and helium. It was established in 1973 to support the growing electronics business in the Silicon Valley, as well as a variety of other industries including mining, medical, food freezing, aerospace and agriculture.

Air Products (NYSE: APD) serves customers in industrial, energy, technology and healthcare markets worldwide with a unique portfolio of atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials, and equipment and services. Founded in 1940, Air Products has built leading positions in key growth markets such as semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, home healthcare services, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives. The company is recognized for its innovative culture, operational excellence and commitment to safety and the environment. In fiscal 2009, Air Products had revenues of $8.3 billion, operations in over 40 countries, and 18,900 employees around the globe. For more information, visit


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