November 26, 2012

Davis Sewage Facility Field Trip

It may sound really gross, but the Davis Sewage Facilities was pretty much the most awesome field trip ever.  Ever.  The first part is the grossest, so bear with.  See that gunk in the top picture?  The first building we went into was where the toilet paper and such is removed from the rest of the waste stuffs.

Yeah, some of the poo didn't wind up where it was supposed to.  I'm a little pregnant (ha) but I still didn't think the smell was that bad.  Nothing like a dairy farm.  However, you have to focus your mental energies on not thinking about what you're looking at.
They add a bunch of chemicals to the paper waste and smash it down and haul it away.
The above pic is water waste that is in the process of being treated and sent to the Great Salt Lake.  Yep, the recycled, treated water goes back to the Great Salt Lake so evaporation can take place, clouds form, rain fall, etc.
More of the water containers.

There was a lot of walking involved in this field trip and I couldn't find a babysitter the day before Thanksgiving.  So.  Have I mentioned Harriet is not light?
This is the "natural looking" river comprised of treated water.
A bunch of crazy homeschoolers.  It was so fun to meet so many of them!
That man in the blue shirt.  He noticed Harriet on the other side of the fence and rescued her.  Thanks!  I was too busy taking photos to notice my child.  Those toddlers move quick!
That is Antelope Island in the distance.
That is sludgy stuff.  I can't remember everything about this part because I got there late due to trying to carry Harriet, then putting her down when she twisted her body around to get away from me, and then chasing Harriet when she ran the wrong direction, and then trying to carry her again.  I'm sure you all understand.  What I do know is that the sludge is very gross looking, but the process is pretty cool and Miriam was jealous that other people had already invented all those machines.

That is poo, my friends, mixed with some other stuff to make it more firm.  Then it is given to farmers who use it to fertilize their fields.  Notice the sign.  I giggled a lot at the different signs.  At one point our tour guide talked about keeping close tabs on the age of the sludge.  The bacteria has to be just the right age to reproduce.  Sludge reproduction--how do you get a degree in that?
That is the dummy they use to practice safety measures.  Eli was very frightened of him.
This is where they grow the bacteria to do the cool sludge thing.

One of the neatest parts of the plant is this building that houses these big engines.  50% of the power used to run the place is produced in this building using waste gases.  They are building new engines in the next two years that will produce 90% of the power necessary for the plant using only waste gases.  That is pretty awesome!
Our favorite part of the tour was the science lab building.  It was just so . . . sciency.  First there was a short presentation that I quite liked.  I'm a fan of Albert.

Then this man, who is clearly passionate about science and getting kids excited about science, taught our kids a magic trick using static electricity.

Then he walked us through the lab.  There were beakers and really terrible smelling chemicals, and people in lab coats.  My children were entranced.  So was I.  I think it was the first time in my life that science looked remotely interesting.  As one fellow homeschool mom suggested--maybe I just need to invest in some cool looking science things and then I might like it more.

The men who showed us around the plant were clearly excited to have us there and that made a big difference in the interest level of the kids.  Sewage does not seem glamorous and Myron, the plant manager, once pointed out that he didn't get his degree thinking he'd be taking care of poo.  But he is really enthusiastic about his job--how it helps the environment and helps so many people and uses all the newest science and technology.  I was really impressed with the quality of the information, the cleanliness of the buildings, and the attitude of the employees who showed us around.  Bravo, Davis Sewage--you guys are fabulous!

So fabulous that we are currently planning another field trip to the plant just to spend more time in the science lab.  I can't wait!  (But I'll definitely be getting a babysitter.)

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