Monday, February 23, 2015

Weather blobs and Waste water blobs

I got all excited last night when looking at long range models of weather but this morning I see we are only in the "keep an eye on" stage.  Next Sunday we have a chance of significant show,  In fact last night it was looking like one of the bigger storms in the last 2 years but now it looks like as with everything else as it will go south.

Still we are getting slammed with at least 2 more body blows of cold from the north.  The one we are in today, a body blow Wednesday and I would expect another one early next week (maybe not AS cold). But the main event will be watching Sunday. A large blob of  moisture will be entering the country in California about Thursday or Friday and redeveloping after dumping a lot of rain on CA.  By late Sunday this blob will be near WI. 

Then the latest pin wheel blob of super cold will glance NORTH of Wisconsin. So instead of the cold pushing the moistur south it COULD let it leak north.  This is something to watch as the week goes on.     

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I had the opportunity to tour the Columbus Waste Water Treatment Plant Friday and it was actually pretty interesting. AND - I took my camera. 

The three dudes were excited to have someone visit as I believe they are locked into that place and do not get to see outside humans very often (notice the fence around the plant. It's not to keep people out, it's to keep them IN).

The first thing I noticed was THE BIG BOARD.

      
Three Mile Island was on my mind.  But then I find out that this is actually old and the plant is now run on a state of the art science computer run on Window XP, the trailing edge of technology. 

I would have taken some photos but the tubes were not warmed up yet. 

The first room we visited was the chem lab where they measure all the crap they collect (I had to get the "crap" joke out of the way early so I could get serious). 

The place was full of beakers and pipettes and fluids that I could not imagine what it all was (actually I could, that was urine  and next to it is the rare blue urine).

The next stop was into the bowels of the plant (sorry, I can't help it).    

The back story is that right now the primary problem at the Columbus plant is that we have a 1/4 screen that is the first sifter of  . . stuff that comes into the plant.  It is collected, put into garbage bags BY HAND. Then a lowly paid highly trained technician manually carry's the heavy effluent debris up a very long and slippery set of stairs and put it into a garbage can.  

   
The plan, if council agrees, is to get a 1/8 inch screen (as opposed to a 1/4) and automate this process.  This was the smelliest room in the plant and if there is any need to torture a terrorist or anything I think this would be the place to do it (every town need a room like this).

And then we started to get into the meat of the plant. Lots and lots of pumps. These guys are pump experts. I should have been counting how many pumps there are. The amazing thing is that along with carrying crap, the makers of the clean water do all of their own repair work.  Broken pump? they will lift it through a ceiling 30 feet in the air air and repair it.    

Circuit board blows up? They repair it.  Yard needs mowing they do it. 

  
 Pumps, lots and lots of pumps. If there was a model pump show these guys would be camping out to get in first.  I bet there are 25 LARGE pumps at the plant. 

But along with pumps were some pretty interesting equipment.

  
 This one takes out grit!  Looks like dirty sand-ish. Sort of a centrifuge thing going on. Seems there is all sorts of different kinds of  . . . . stuff that all needs special treatment. 

  This is a press that presses water out of the waste (and could be used to print the Columbus Journal also).  The results looks something like beef jerky. It's pretty old but was new technology when it was installed. (they do all their own constant repairing).

We then went out to the other buildings and along the way I saw a miracle. It was crazy.  The cold weather created something I think Columbus could charge money to help our budget. 


Is it, IS IT TAYLOR SWIFT??? 

Call the waste department and ask to see Taylor Swift! it's uncanny!


The domes were rather awesome.  This is what they are when empty.



This is typically filled with influent up to the alligator things. Pumps on the bottom to get rid of sludge, I THINK.

Then there are a few of these things we all have seen.  They are aerating like we do with beer to get the yeast active.  Those tiny critters need air to chomp all the bad smelly critters (not scientific terms).


I have a really cool photo in my head on this and want to go back when it's not freaking 50 below to take it.   You have seen those photos with swirls on a pond with leaves  . . well . . . .

But then they were saving the highlight for last!  THE SLUDGE SHED!!!

This is the 6 wheel drive truck used to haul sludge. How old is this??


And this is the sludge.  Pretty stack-able at the moment but in summer when it's warmer there is a problem with the sludge being too wet and spreading. Of note is the height of the walls.  How much sludge were they thinking years ago, would go into this room.  And look at the ceilings!!  This looks more like the Kalahari in the Dells then the roof of a sludge barn.

I think we could clean this up and have some concerts in here.

But all kidding aside. What I took away from the tour of our waste water plant was the 3 guys that take care of us are proud of the plant and it's a labor of love.  They might not make the money that other communities our size pay and there is always a danger of losing skill and knowledge to other towns but they love it here.

Columbus has a great capacity so there is no worries for what I believe is coming.  They are a self contained unit and I was impressed.

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BTW - here is a tip for anyone who ever writs a blog to makes a application for a job or whatever.  You can read everything over 20 times and miss something obvious because you brain fills in mistakes.

The TRICK - is to read whatever you wrote bottom to top!  That way you will find mistakes.

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NOTE - check out this Executive Penthouse Apartment for rent for rent above the Garage Barbershop.  "You won't believe it. 2830 Sq. Ft. of finished living space. 2-3 Bedrooms and 2 baths".