Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Wastewater Treatment Plant

Yesterday afternoon my family and I had the opportunity to tour the new wastewater treatment plant here in Parsons. Now how does this tie in to library service? First, because I was taking two young children along I wanted a book to take home and read to the kids before we went on our field trip. I discovered that the library had one book, Down the Drain by Thompson Yardley. I mentioned to our children's librarian that we needed to add a few more items to our children's room about sewers and wastewater. Next, I checked for items in the adult area. There are quite a few items on plumbing and on garbage, but next to nothing on sewers and wastewater except for Alice Outwater's book Water: A Natural History. Then I checked the internet and found some good sites on the history of sewers, a report card on infrastructure (bridges, water and wastewater plants, schools) for Kansas, and the EPA site on water security. The children's book was my best bet so I took it home and read it to the kids. When we went to the plant later that afternoon my oldest had lots of good questions for the employees including, "What was the weirdest thing you ever found in the trap?" (answer: bowling balls), "What are the sewers like? Are they scary?" and "What happens to the overflow?" (answer: they kept the old tanks to handle overflow). We were given an excellent tour by Derek Clevenger, Director of Utilities and learned alot about the water we use every day.
Yes, parts of the tour were very smelly, but the opportunity to find out where our water goes once it leaves the house and how clean it looks flowing back into Labette Creek were invaluable.
For those of you wanting to know a bit more about your garbage and where it goes
you might want to check out Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash by Elizabeth Royte. For the kids two excellent picture books are Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman and I Stink! by Kate McMullan. I am checking out the book on water by Alice Outwater, so you will have to wait on that one!

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