Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Water Journey Day 2: From the river to our tap!

Day two of drink week merged the AM and PM groups together for a field trip adventure! The first stop of the journey was River Park. Here campers had the chance to collect their own samples of river water right out of the Mississippi! Jodi Wallin, the Public Information Officer at Saint Paul Regional Water Services, and Alex Rossow, Water Quality Specialist, provided history regarding the Water Treatment Plant (across the river), as well as explaining the journey water takes from intake to tap.
Initial water intake plant on the Mississippi River - Photo Courtesy of camper

Additionally, the campers walked through the rain garden adjacent to the parking lot. Sarah and Dan, Environmental Scientists at Wenck,  showcased how runoff works by pouring water on pavement, grass, and prairie. They answered the many questions campers had about runoff and explained the effects bacteria and fertilizer can have on the river and its ecosystem.

Afterwards, a lunch stop was made at Sucker Lake, where Nick Voss, an educator for the Vadnais Lakes Area Watershed Management Organization and Tyler Thompson, a GIS Watershed Technician, displayed various aquatic life (dragonfly larvae, crayfish, and other small fish) and emphasized the importance of water quality on ecosystems. The campers also filled their vials with water from Sucker Lake to test turbidity, pH, and dissolved oxygen levels.

Aquatic species found in Sucker Lake -Photo courtesy of camper

The final stop was at the Water Treatment Plant, where staff gave us tours about the process of purifying water for drinking. We were allowed to enter the clarifier room that hold 2.6 million gallons of water. In this clarifier water is slowed down to allow gravity to settle the particles found in water until paddles at the bottom push the solids towards the center which are then pumped to the dewatering building. This water treatment plant serves 40 million gallons of water for 500,000 people in the metro area.

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