Week of June 30, 2019

A group of us went to the Pigseye Sewer Treatment Plant last week. Our group thoroughly enjoyed it.
The plant collects most of the sewer waste for the whole metropolitan area...averaging some 250 million gallons a day.  It captures most of the gases generated so the smell was rather unremarkable. It burns most of the solids and cleans the leftover liquid to something clearer than the Mississippi River water it discharges into.  There are built in redundancies to ensure the system works in all kinds of trouble, even during floods. And they are always creating efficiencies--they are now using 27% less energy than they were 20 years ago.
Surprisingly, once Birchwood's waste is pumped up the hill by Century College, the sewage winds its way down hill all the way to a lift station just outside of the plant. Gravity is a good partner for making the system work well.
Also, it cannot be emphasized enough that "disposable" wipes and Swiffer cloths are a very costly hazards to the system. They bog down the system by clogging pumps. Those costs are passed on to us as the system is self-supporting through user fees.
Free tours are available to groups of ten or more. I recommend you "put it on the list."