Energy Initiative Blogs

The “green” Grand Canyon

by Dora Gacsi | Jun 18, 2015

In early June, I visited the Grand Canyon. The experience was more spectacular than I expected and I think everyone should visit the Grand Canyon, at least once in his or her lifetime.

South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Figure 1: South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Photo taken bay author


In addition to being in awe over the spectacular presence and power of nature, which is what is truly “green” about Grand Canyon, I noticed something when I used the restroom at Bright Angel point at Grand Canyon Village. There was a sign above the toilet informing guests that the water is reclaimed.

Use of Reclaimed Water at Grand Canyon Restrooms

Figure 2: Use of Reclaimed Water at Grand Canyon Restrooms

Photo taken by author


Since this was my first experience with the use of reclaimed water in toilets, I was curious about the system and its history. Turns out that this is one of the oldest water reclamation systems in the U.S., constructed in 1926 and expanded in 1934 to the South Rim area. The system has a 300,000 gallon tank for cleaning the water using bacteria, chemical compounds and filters. This is how it purifies the wastewater and then returns the cleaned water to the system.


This was a pleasant surprise for me, since I have never encountered the reuse of  wastewater in my own homeland. Perhaps Hungary can learn from this example and implement the use of reclaimed water at some of its natural tourist attractions.


  • Holland, F. Ross, Jr. (August 31, 1972). "Water Disposal Plant" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 5 December 2011. (accessed online on June 18, 2015)
  • Matthew Roberts, Charlie Schlinger, Steve Mead : An Investigation of Energy Use, Potable Water and Wastewater Treatment at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona ( ) (accessed online on June 18, 2015)