Down and Away..But Where?

WWTP_web

The Ann Arbor Wastewater Treatment Plant
Photo Credit: A2gov.org

You just finished using the bathroom and you flush the toilet. Do you ever wonder where it all goes? Where does the water supply come from? Ever get lucky enough to get on campus first thing in the morning and get hit with the oh so terrible smell of something you wish you hadn’t? Do our bathrooms on campus have any connection to the horrible smell?  I, myself, never really wondered until a fellow teacher brought up the topic for research. I instantly became interested, even though it had never caught my attention. Only the awful smell that is. After doing some research on the topic, I found out that located down the road from our college campus is the Ann Arbor Wastewater Treatment Plant http://www.a2gov.org/government/publicservices/waste_water_treatment/Pages/default.aspx. Not only does the plant receives sewage from our Campus, but also from portions on Ann Arbor, Scio and Pittsfield Township. It runs every single day of the week, twenty-four hours a day. The smell is brought on from very drastic temperature changes and because it is located so close to campus, the smell of everything that goes into the sewers of Washtenaw is transmitted into the air and our lungs. Also, all the water that is in our toilets, comes from the Huron River http://www.a2gov.org/government/publicservices/water_treatment/Pages/treatment.aspx. Not only does our toilet water come from the Huron River, but 85% of all the water that is supplied to our homes for any use, is coming from the Huron River. After pondering this information for awhile, I realized how unusual it is that we get our campus water from just around the corner and our bathroom sewage it sent and cleaned right across the street! Now, every time you flush the toilet in one of the campus bathrooms, or go canoeing on the Huron River, you will know how important the river really is to all of Washtenaw.

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2 thoughts on “Down and Away..But Where?

  1. Great topic. Anyone that attends WCC has probably noticed that smell. We used to be able to take our classes on tours of the waste water treatment plant, but they’ve discontinued them. Most people don’t realize that their waste water goes right back into the river. They also don’t realize how much of the contaminants can’t be removed in the treatment process, like pharmaceuticals. Here’s an interesting thought – what about those communities downstream that also get their water from the Huron?

    • Really? I didn’t know that the waste goes back into the river..that just makes the river much more unclean and unhealthy. I also did some research on the plant and I wasn’t to surprised when you said that tours have been discontinued because it is actually very dangerous to be inhailing all those smells from the wastewater plant. Thanks for commenting!

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