Question Of The Week: Cooling Tower Blowdown Water Reuse?

Posted by Heidi Schwartz

This week’s question comes from the Facilities Management Group on LinkedIn.


Does anyone out there have firsthand experience with the following request on a smaller scale..say a 300 ton tower??

The plant wants to reclaim cooling tower blowdown water and use it for the purposes of landscape irrigation. This action benefits the plant in two ways; first, the daily sanitary sewer outflow will be significantly reduced and second, the city water previously used for landscape irrigation will be conserved.

To accomplish this objective, a recovery system has been engineered, designed, and installed to capture the cooling tower blowdown and transfer this water to the inlet of the present landscape irrigation system or to a traveling sprinkler irrigation system. Any additional feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Ed Houlemarde
Chief Engineer
TOPA Management
Los Angeles, CA

Share your feedback and suggestions in the LEAVE A COMMENT section below.


  1. Ed,
    We, San Joaquin Chemicals, Inc. have been using cooling tower blowdown for irrigation for 25-30 years.

    Please check us out with the facilities manager at CSUN, Jason Wang.
    We treat the fuel cell, which irrigates a “rain forest”.
    We are currently working on obtaining permission to use the other towers blowdown for landscape irrigation.

    Jim Scott, CWT

  2. There is a question that needs to be answered. Do you treat the water with any chemicals ? If so, you need to verify that they are safe to re-introduce into the environment. If they are safe for the environment, will they be harmful to the landscaping.
    Most chemical companies are offering green chemicals that are not harmful to the environment.
    Blowdown from a cooling tower should be conductive and have a lot of minerals and other chemicals dissolved in the water. Where we are located, this is calcium, magnesium and other minerals.
    You should contact your governmental sanitary engineering department and verify that this practice is acceptable. It is possible that they might require that the blowdown water is filtered before using it in landscaping. If you filter it, you could use it again in the cooling tower where it has more value.

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