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Water Treatment

By Josh and Rachael

A water treatment plant is a place that takes water from a river, and cleans it so we can drink it. In Calgary there are 2 water treatment plants. They are called Bears paw and Glenmore. Glenmore water treatment plant cleans the Elbow River not the Bow River. Bears paw cleans the water from the Bow River.

The water that goes to the water treatment plant goes through many stages before humans can use it. This treated water is then used for drinking and irrigation, as well as many other things. There are ten stages and they are:
1. The water goes to the water treatment plant.
2. Water is taken from a river and large screens remove twigs and leaves.
3. Chlorine is added the first time to kill any harmful bugs (bacteria) in the water.
4. Alum and polyelectrolyte are added to the water.
5. The dirt particles are attracted to each other.
6. The water flows to a large basin where the dirt falls to the bottom and becomes sludge.
7. The water filters through large beds made of charcoal and sand.
8. The clean water is stored in a clear well.
9. Fluoride is added and chlorine is added a second time.
10. The water is pumped to all parts of the city.

The water treatment plants use chemicals to clean the water. The chemicals used are alum, fluoride and chlorine. Alum is used to make microscopic dirt particles clump together to make them visible. Fluoride is used to make teeth strong it is also for dental protection. Chlorine is added to kill germs in the water.

It is amazing how much water is cleaned per day! For 1 million people, using 300 liters a day, that is an estimation of 300, 000, 000 liters per day. The amount of water being cleaned changes depending on the time of the year. The most that the plants in Calgary can treat right now is 400 – 450 megalitres per day per plant. That is about 450 million “super big gulps” a day. In the summer when it is warmer people are drinking water and watering their lawns. In the spring the water is dirty because the snow on the mountains is melting and when it runs into the river it brings the dirt with it. Less water is available at this time because it takes more time to clean it.

There are some dangers at the water treatment plant. The water treatment plant could break down. The filter could break and the chemicals would get into our drinking water or sewage water. One of the machines could spill oil in the drinking water. But we won’t have a serious one in Calgary.

Grey water is something that should be used more often. Grey water is water that we use in our home but it doesn’t come from the toilet. It comes from washing your hands and other water uses that go down the drain. I think grey water should be used to water lawns, irrigate golf courses and farmer’s fields. We should use grey water more because it conserves more clean water that is necessary for people and using grey water will cost less than using the treated water.