Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Students Go Behind the Scenes at Water Plants


Water and Sewer Department employee, Nigel Noone, explains to a group of tenth grade students the ins and outs of the Marco Island Water Treatment Plant. Photos by Samantha Husted

Water and Sewer Department employee, Nigel Noone, explains to a group of tenth grade students the ins and outs of the Marco Island Water Treatment Plant. Photos by Samantha Husted

The City of Marco Island Water and Sewer Department has struck an unlikely friendship.

For past few years, the department has partnered with the First Baptist Academy, a Christian private school located in Naples. They came together with two goals in mind: education and community outreach.

Each year, about 50 tenth grade chemistry students are invited by the Water and Sewer Department to tour the Marco Island Water Plant.

Employee Mark Scarpa leads the tenth graders up to the lime softening reactor tank.

Employee Mark Scarpa leads the tenth graders up to the lime softening reactor tank.

According to Utilities Department General Manager Jeff Poteet, the partnership allows students interested in science to get an up close and detailed view of how water is treated on Marco Island. In addition, it allows the secluded Water Plant to interact with the community that they serve on a daily basis.

“This gives the chemistry students an opportunity to see ‘hands-on’ how drinking water and wastewater process use chemistry and biology in our treatment processes,” Poteet said.

A tenth grade First Baptist Academy chemistry student looks down at the water below during the annual tour.

A tenth grade First Baptist Academy chemistry student looks down at the water below during the annual tour.

The tour is designed to give students a scientific look behind the scenes as to how Marco Islanders get their water. It also shows students how science is applied outside of the classroom and how it’s necessary for the production of clean drinking water we all rely on.

Poteet explained that the objective of the day is for the tenth graders to learn where the City of Marco Island’s drinking water comes from, how it’s treated, and what happens to it after its been used by residents.

“The first thing that we did is we gave them a presentation on the overview of the entire water and sewer operations,” Poteet said.

The students were then broken up into three groups, each touring a different aspect of the facility. They were able to view the wastewater treatment plant, tour the lime softening tank, and finally, they listened to a presentation on reverse osmosis treatment, a water purification method.

Previously, the water plant has also given tours to First Baptist Academy elementary students. But for the past two years it’s been reserved for the chemistry students.

“We’re pretty excited about showing the students how both chemistry and biology are used in your water treatment,” Poteet said.

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