Friday, June 18, 2010

Not Enough Sewage, But Still Fun

Last Tuesday my friend E sent me an email asking if I wanted to join her on a tour of a sewage treatment plant.

Clearly, I immediately wrote back to say, "Um. Yes, please."

(Did you think I would have said anything different?)

Sad to say, when we arrived there, it was not a sewage treatment plant, but a drinking water treatment plant, which I guess might be better because it was still fascinating, but less smelly.

I'm here to tell you that if you ever get a chance to tour a water treatment plant, take it. It was absurdly exciting in a nerdy sort of way. Unfortunately, cameras were verboten in the plant.

I have never wanted to be able to take photos more, because OMG, WOULD YOU JUST LOOK AT HOW THEY CLEAN OUR WATER?! It was absolutely fascinating. But because of the large number of terror organizations that read Stimeyland and use the information here to poison our water supply, they wouldn't let me take photos.

Of course, you probably would have looked at the photos and been all, "Okay, there's a photo of a big, square pool of water. And, huh, look at that one. It's a photo of a big, square, slightly cleaner pool of water."

But in person, it was really impressive.

Especially considering that there are like three water technicians that run the whole plant on each 12-hour shift. When we saw them, they were all chilling out in a little, glass-sided room chatting with each other. Our tour guide said that's a good thing. Evidently boredom on the water cleaning shift means good things for the end user.

I particularly liked our trip through the lab in which there were fish in a fish tank. I figured they were like canaries in the coal mine, but it turns out they were just pets.

The munchkins were pretty well behaved, although I did have to make a couple of quick dashes to stop them from hurling themselves into the Fairfax drinking water supply or pushing emergency alarms.

At the end of the tour, they gave all the kids coloring books and a Magic School Bus book on water supply. Best of all, they gave the kiddos squeezy stress balls shaped like water drops.

I did get to take this one photo of my little nerdlinger Sam and his nerdlingettes after they got their books about water and their stress balls.

If you want to learn about the water treatment process, check out Fairfax Water's online resources.

Day One of summer vacation down. Seventy-three to go.

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