So we're chillin' in AZ and find out Debbie and Miguel have a friend in the sewage biz, Sam. We had them talk with Sam to setup a tour of the Sewage Treatment Plant. Sam gave us an in depth tour of how the facility works from the time it comes into the plant and goes back out. Why you ask? Well Jenn's always wanted to know how a sewage plant works so why not? You can stand on the side and watch this and see all kinds of things floating around, oh and it doesn't smell that good either. Thanks for a great tour and a fun time Sam!
Jenn personalized a shirt for the tour.
Our cool tour guide Sam has been working with sewage for a while. He taught us that there are several different methods and types of plants to deal with sewage, his is one of many (can you tell we forgot terminology there?).
This is where it all starts (the pictures suck because it's poo ~ and they are screen captures from the video which is even grosser to watch).
This is the grate that covers the incoming pipe from the city, first line of defense filter ~ EVERYTHING arrives here.
When the larger objects get stuck in the grate, there is a rake that goes through the grate and picks out the larger objects ~ some toilet paper, feminine products, 'objects', etc...
Then the larger objects are dumped into this wheelbarrow that is delivered to your local gardening supply.
Organic fertilizer straight to your door.
Anything that the rake picks up is pushed up to the top and falls over into a wheelbarrow and put into another pile of s@#$. And yes, those are balls of Kaka which Sam spells with a K and the ph is silent right Sam?
That's right Jenn, notice the moist and muddy texture, somebody's not getting enough fiber. Now moving on to the what's that taste in your mouth portion of our tour...
This sonar beams a signal into the tank below and it tells the workers how many gallons of water is coming through the plant so they know when to get off their butts and quit eating their complimentary Baby Ruth chocolate bars.
Debbie says she didn't want to come, but she knows she did!!! She can't wait to taste the chocolate.
Off to the next step in cleaning the wastewater, and drying off our shoes...
Sam explains some of the best methods for breathing while on site ~ taste or smell, you decide.
Sam is guiding us through the process of transferring the water from tank to tank and the things that happen in each one and which are safe for swimming and which are most spa like in their warmth.
This tank isn't too safe for swimming because of the large mechanical screw that you could get body parts stuck in.
This screw like machine brings all the sludge and pieces out of the water and puts it in a pile to be sold to the dog food makers, yes that is corn, lamb meal, and rice mixture going to the folks at Nutro.
This is the pile the screw makes. Some things that aren't digested are corn, some lettuce, and Debbie said she saw some cilantro in the water earlier! She says it tasted more like garlic.
You can see how the water is getting cleaner through the process, it is passed through many tanks that provide different methods of filtration.
This tank has big mixers that float on top and mix the water under it. There are tiny bugs that help digest some of the bacteria and things in the water. Sam asked us if we could smell anything at this tank and surprisingly we couldn't ~ because the bugs eat this stuff there is no smell. But it still tasted like crap, and the mixers made it to dangerous to swim in but it felt warm and soothing on our aching feet that we dipped in. But don't worry, our feet germs are cleaned out before it's re-directed into the local drinking supply.
The water is then transferred to another tank for more filtration, Sam calls this a nice chocolaty color! We thought it needed more sugar.
This tanks holds 500,000 gallons of wastewater over your friends head for a small fee.
The kids were very interested in everything Sam was telling them.
And Kes saw a turd 'this big'!
Miguel what's in your hand?
It's a large set of melons that come from the plastic surgeons office ~ we've been telling them to quit flushing them things...
Debbie is trying really hard not to throw up!
Even though there was plenty of room to...
Let's see what Debbie had for lunch ~ some cooorrrrrnn, some chiliiiii, and some cilantro... or is that garlic?
This tank is pretty deep and the paddles on top move the scum around. You can see how the water is clear on the other side of the paddle (top right). Sam sticks a pole that is about 20 feet long in and it tells us how many feet are clear until we hit the sludge on the bottom.
Here is the sludge from the bottom of the tank. It had a sandy texture with a somewhat sour and chalky flavor.
You can see how the water is getting cleaner and brighter. Almost ready for bottling.
Where's the bathroom?
This is towards the end of the process, we have cleaner water here, but it is still not drinkable. This water is more for golf courses and landscaping uses
The kids are checking out the clean water that Sam scooped out of the tank. Tastes just right!
After we went on the tour we thought it would be nice to send him a little thank you, so thanks for taking us on the tour and making it something special for us Sam!
And, by the way ~ we have more less gross adventures in the Southwest...