After seeing the inner-workings of the Red Deer water treatment plant, eighth grader Nick Froman has come to realize he needs to be more conscious of how much water he uses at home.
“To see how many steps it takes, you really learn to value what they do for you to get clean water,” Froman said.
“I’m going to take shorter showers and turn the taps off when I’m brushing my teeth.”
The city’s H20 Education Program was launched as a pilot project on Thursday morning, giving 105 Grade 8 students from Glendale Science and Technology School a behind-the-scenes look at the water treatment plant on 54th Ave.
Students got to see six stations at the facility, starting with the intake and screen building and the low lift pump house (where the water is piped into the plant), to the control room and labs, where the city’s water flows are closely monitored and samples are tested for quality.
Each interactive station was led by a plant operator or technician, some of whom have been working at the facility for more than 30 years.
Katrina Neufeld, a science teacher at Glendale School, said the tour was the perfect way for her students to incorporate the knowledge they’d gained from this year’s fresh and salt water systems unit in a real world setting.
“Hopefully they see the process and see how much work it takes to filter all the water, and start to think about how they can conserve water in their own homes,” Neufeld said.
Neufeld said her students have started to understand the amount of effort it takes for municipal treatment facilities to get water from source to tap, and plenty of “ah-ha” moments have come as a result.
“They see we use a lot (of water) and when you start to multiply that by how many people are in Red Deer, and then how many are in Canada, you see it’s going to be a resource we need to work on conserving,” Neufeld said.
Performance reporting co-ordinator at the water treatment plant, Nathalie Viau, also hopes students will learn how to conserve water and be reassured that it is completely safe to drink H2O from their taps, unfiltered.
“We’re trying to promote people to drink from the tap … our water is safe, fresh and readily available,” Viau said.
The city is promoting its Bottle Your Own — H20 to Go program with students. The program encourages residents to bottle their own water and lessen the environmental impact of buying and using bottled water.
“The idea is that this hands-on approach to their current studies will have an impact at home, and as they grow into adults they will know the impact of water conservation in their community,” Viau said.
Viau said the H20 Education Program is already receiving positive feedback and will likely expand to involve other student and youth groups in the near future.