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Drinking Water Treatment Plant Tour

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Drinking Water Treatment Plant Tour

(went to, UNH water treatment plant)

A water treatment plant is a facility installed for water quality treatment when water is contaminated or inadequate to the water quality standards. This field trip (Drinking water treatment plant tour- UNH water treatment plant) was the first time I got to see a water treatment plant. It was a place that supplies clean water to UNH and Durham. I got to see into basins that can treat water and also saw the river that is a source for the water treatment plant. Welsey East, supervisor at the UNH-DURHAM water system, told me about the way the water treatment plant’s runs. I thought that the workers are all very talented. Water treatment requires a strong background in chemistry, mathematics, and good mechanical ability. They all support its work to supply clean water. It was a very instructive time to watch it.

       There are three sources that the plant gets its water from. The Oyster River, The Lamprey River, and Spurce Hole. At first, I watched Oyster River. It looks a little bit small but it never dries up. Actually, the main source for water for the treatment plant is usually the Lamprey River. It is a very clean river, so it costs less to clean the water. So, they use the Lamprey River a lot. Also, they have to clean water in order to supply it. For the cleaning process, they use water from the disinfection basin. This water goes to the waste ponds. They recycle and reuse the water in the ponds to conserve treatment source water. It is used to clean the filters when they get dirty.

       To maintain water quality, they use in-line instruments. They are checking these instrument by testing the water by hand every day. Also, a computer talks to the in-line instruments. And if anything goes outside of the set limits, the treatment plant turns off. And they maintain water distribution 2 times per year so they can operate cleanly.

       There are some contaminants in the drinking water. There are inorganic contaminants, organic contaminants, radioactive contaminants, lead and so on. In drinking water, there are small amounts of contaminants, so it would not affect people’s health (maybe except someone who has a reason to have caution of its contaminants.). However, there are some people who are vulnerable of it, so they add some chemicals. They add sodium hydroxide(NaOH) to control pH. Also, they use sodium fluoride(NaF) to prevent tooth decay. Water containing fluoride makes teeth mottled and the bones brittle easily. However, it can prevent tooth decay when an appropriate amount of fluoride sodium is added to water, and it is currently being tried in some countries.

After knowing that, I was wondering that if the temperature of water is all different by country, how can they select proper water treatment for their country? Is that all same route? Or will it be different case by case? I thought that the system will operate differently by where is their country and how does their country’s weather behave.

       Africa, for example, has very hot weather, organics grow more easily than in cold weather. So, its water can easily become contaminated, so it could cause a bad taste and odor that leads to a deterioration of health. And there are a lot of people that have low immunity because it is developing country, so it will be much more harmful. So, I think it cannot be same as the other country that has cold weather. They have to find some other method to purify water. I think adding some micro-organics that purify the environment could be useful. Micro-organics eat organics or minerals or something else, and decompose themselves. This method is very cheap and also organic matter is micro-organics’s prey, so it will be good for them too. Leave micro-organics in contaminated water and take them out after they eat organics that harm people. It can be one of the water treatment processes for them, which operates differently from a developed country which has better weather.



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