Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Johns Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility Tour

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A few weeks ago we took a fabulous fieldtrip to a wastewater treatment facility in Alpharetta Georgia. This state of the art facility which is called the Johns Creek Environmental Campus offers FREE educational fieldtrips to groups. The 5-acre, award winning facility is located on a 43-acres site off Holcomb Bridge Road in the City of Roswell adjacent to the Chattahoochee River.  The facility can treat up to 15 million gallons per day (MGD). The tour lasts about 2 hours and discusses water quality, water conservation and the water and wastewater treatment processes. The unique STEM opportunity connects nature and technology for elementary, middle and high school students.

For the first 15 minutes of the tour we sat in a classroom where they gave us an overview on the history of the plant, the Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) system, and the overall process of cleaning wastewater. We also got to watch a great power point presentation. 

Afterwards the group split into two smaller groups. One group went with a tour guide on a tour of the plant and the other group participated in a hands on lab activity with the other tour guide...then we swapped.

During the lab activity each child got to participate in a hands on activity to learn exactly how the wastewater is processed. We even got to see several actual water samples (one which included some micro-organisms).

After the lab activity we headed out the mini museum which included a functional model of the Membrane Bioreactor, informational fact boards and old water treatment machinery.

Next it was time for the final leg of our fieldtrip. We swapped with the other group and went on a tour of the actual plant!!! We got to walk through the water treatment process and got to see every pint the water was running through. My kids and I thought the biological process (where the bugs have a party) and ultraviolet disinfection process were the coolest parts. We even got to see where the state-of-the art membrane bioreactors are located, where the testing lab is and even got a sneak peak at the control room. JCEC was one of the first plants of its size to utilized the MBR technology in the United States. We also learned what the plant does to reduce noise and smell for their neighbors.

This educational, fun and FREE tour is perfect for helping children understand not only the "water cycle," but also the "water treatment cycle." 

Both of our tour guides Debra and Cheryl were fabulous. They were really patient and did a great job of keeping the children engaged and answering all of the children's questions. I highly recommend this tour for school groups, homeschool groups, scouts, etc. Tours are only available by appointment.

The JCEC event has downloadable pdfs of the entire water treatment process.

After the tour we headed out to explore the "backyard" of the plant. The landscape outback includes walking trails, fantastic views of the Chattahoochee, a playground, a pond and stream system complete with a covered bridge, over 1,000 trees and shrubs and specially designed stormwater bio retention facilities that help clean stormwater runoff. There are also great placards with lots of information about the land, flora, fauna and water treatment process. I have driven past this place several times and never knew it existed. It is a great spot for a picnic, birdwatching or a nice stroll. This area is open to the public year round. Oh and if you are a geocacher be sure to grab the 3 caches located there.

If you plan on doing a similar tour with a group I highly recommend ordering these FREE resources from the USDA to hand out to families before or after the tour.

Hometown Water
Your Hometown Clean Water Tour activity booklet
Water Cycle
Water Cycle 2 sided poster

There are also some great printables and information on the water cycle here. And a great printable activity booklet and video here. And lastly view some micro-organisms at work in this video.


Marting said...

The work is great.

Marting said...

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