Friday, April 18, 2008

On October 2nd the first-year Urban Planning students took a trip to Iowa City’s south Wastewater Treatment Plant. Students had a chance to tour the plant with Wastewater Superintendent Dave Elias. Dave showed where the physical, chemical, and biological processes take place to convert wastewater into water that can be discharged into the Iowa River according to Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

The south plant was constructed over a two year period with a price tag of $26.5 million. Along with the north wastewater plant, the treatment facilities receive approximately 10 million gallons of wastewater a day from homes, businesses, industries, and the University of Iowa. Approximately 300 miles of underground sewers, ranging in diameter from eight inches to eight feet, carry wastewater to the north and south plants. A staff of 27 works in the Wastewater Division for Iowa City to make sure the water is fully treated before being discharged and also performs constant maintenance of the sewer lines.

Overall, students felt this was a great learning experience and a chance for many to see a side of planning that is not typically discussed. To see photos of the tour, click here (available soon).