Water Treatment and Electric Generation Plants

School is officially out for the summer, but that won’t stop us from taking advantage of many great learning opportunities!  This week we visited our local water treatment plant and the neighboring electric generation plant.

If you’ve ever read The Magic School Bus At The Waterworks, then you’ve visited our water treatment plant!  🙂  I was amazed at how closely the book and the local process were alike.

We are standing on the pumping station overlooking the creek where the water comes from.

After learning that the water is first cleaned with (many ) chemicals, we were taken out to the settling basins.  The two basins on either side are full of water with alum.  Alum essentially grabs the dirties from the water and gets heavy enough to sink to the bottom of the basin.  The middle section is the cleaner water then being pulled out and into an indoor filter room.

If you look closely, you can see the alum – little white specks.

This is a picure of the alum basin and the clean water running off to the right.  Can you see the difference in cleanliness already?

Inside, the site manager showed us a model of what happens in the filter basins.  Water brought in from outside goes through the many layers of charcoal, earth materials and rocks to finish the cleaning process.  (I have a science experiment based on this model that we’re going to do next week.)

Finally, you can see the clearest water yet that comes out of the filter process.  Here, more chemicals are added (like flouride) before the water is sent out into the world and into your faucet.

Right next door to the water treatment plant is the electric generation plant.  You won’t hear much explanation about this part of the trip – partly because I got busy talking and missed part of the presentation and partly because I really haven’t a clue about the ins and outs of electricity.  Thank the Lord for people who do understand it, though.  I sure appreciate my lights and other electrical conveniences!

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