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The science of wastewater

Photo by Christy Porter
Derek Hammond with Licking City Utilities shared surprising insights with Mrs. Candice Shepherd’s fourth grade classes on recent field trips to Licking’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. Here he shares details about tank water capacity and visible stalactites.

By Christy Porter, Managing Editor

Fourth grade students in Mrs. Candice Shepherd’s science classes have recently been learning about watersheds, sinkholes and drainage systems; part of that flow would include an informative trip to the local wastewater treatment plant. Its importance is processing community wastewater, residential and city, and speeding up the natural process to purify the water before it flows back into our natural waterways.

City Utilities employee Derek Hammond, who currently holds a B operator’s certification, guided the student’s tour. He was very informative about the many purification filters and pumps that water used for personal hygiene and elimination, laundry and cleaning circulate through before flowing back into more natural waterways.

The students learned of the three purification methods, chemical, physical and biological; Licking’s wastewater plant utilizes no chemical treatments and has a 21-day rotation for purification. While touring one of the pumping sheds the students were introduced to mist flies; while not harmful, they were in abundance.

Hammond was prepared to answer the many questions and provide explanations about the equipment and each step of the purifying process. He shared an important request to be aware of what NOT to put into the sewer system, items such as personal hygiene products except for toilet paper, clothing and toys.

The final stop was Spring Creek beside the treatment plant. The water released into the creek consistently shows a 98 – 99 percent waste removal, which is a good job by state standards set by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Photos by Christy Porter

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