WAXAHACHIE — Global High School civil engineering students experienced an eye-opening and informative field trip to the city’s water purification and wastewater plant and the Sokell Water Plant. This trip is an annual event coordinated by Director of Utilities for the City of Waxahachie David Bailey and Director of Utilities for the City of Waxahachie and WISD Engineering Instructor and STEM Coordinator April Moon.
The students not only learned firsthand how their local water supply is purified, but they also had the opportunity to see how their wastewater is treated and how all the water management processes tie together.
“To me, it was very interesting that out of all the things that end up in our water facilities, grease is the most harmful. My mother cooked bacon the evening after the field trip, and I made sure she correctly disposed of the grease,” WGHS sophomore Savannah Lewis said.
WGHS Junior Lauren Clarke, added, “We saw pictures of pipes internally coated with grease; the diameter of the opening was almost half of the pipe’s original diameter.”
Clarke noted that “even though it may be gross,” she found the wastewater process fascinating.
“After seeing tons of disgusting stuff in the water get filtered out, I wondered what the plant did with all the sludge. I got an up close look at the belts used to squeeze water out of the sludge that was collected after the wastewater went through multiple treatment processes,” Clarke explained. “I was shocked to learn that after all that, the final product was still 80 percent water and that the other 20 percent is basically not even ‘human waste’ at that point. It is more like ‘bug poop’ because it had been eaten, digested, and reduced [used as energy] by many different types of bacteria [bioreduction].”
While visiting the Sokell Water Plant, a microfiltration membrane facility, students were able to see completely different methods than the more conventional methods used at the plant on Howard Road.