CWEA member and Engineer Veronica Cazares isn’t going to mince words. Yes, there are aromas; however it’s not what you’d expect.
Visitors who attend the Selma-Kingsburg-Fowler County Sanitation’s open house will find out exactly how the facility takes waste water from the three communities and processes it into reusable water.
“We just speed up what Mother Nature does naturally,” Cazares said after explaining each step of the process in advance of the open house.
The event will feature facility tours, a display of heavy equipment, a PowerPoint on the district’s mission, a 55-foot obstacle course and bounce house for youngsters, music, giveaways and refreshments.
The Fresno County Board of Supervisors formed the sanitation district in 1971. It collects, treats and disposes wastewater originating from Selma, Kingsburg and Fowler and parts of unincorporated Fresno County. The district operates and maintains the wastewater treatment plant and the sewer collection system.
Kingsburg City Councilwoman Michelle Roman sits on the district’s board and said having the open house allows everyone to understand the process of changing waste water into water that’s safe to replenish underground aquifers.
“It shows what happens after we flush. I don’t think everybody realizes how important it is to all our cities,” Roman said after alerting the City Council to the upcoming open house. “Unless your sewer breaks, you just don’t think about it.”
SKF won five California Water Environment Association awards in 2014, the 2013 Plant of the Year in the medium-sized category and other awards in 2012 and 2010.
“It’s a state-of-the-art facility and we’re very proud of our facility. For three small communities to come together and operate this is exciting as well,” Roman said.
Out at the facility amidst fruit orchards and just over one mile west of Kingsburg, you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see ducks, geese and egrets enjoying the percolation ponds. Cazares said, however, some wildlife stays year round while others are migrating.
Those attending the open house will also get a chance to walk out to see the head works where main lines bring in the water to be treated. Screw lifts bring the water up while screens pull out rags and debris. The water goes through grit tanks where heavy material is removed then through a process of aeration basins.
“It’s biological,” Cazares explains of the process. “The microorganisms eat up the pollutants.”
There are more steps involved and tours of facility will take place every 30 minutes for those who want to learn more.
“Everybody should come to understand how we’re protecting the environment and doing our part in returning clean water to the ground water,” Cazares said. “The percolation pond is where the final treated water ends up. It’ll either percolate down or evaporate back into the water cycle.”
Learn more about the 20 categories of awards with CWEA. Each one has been designed to honor exceptional CWEA members and California wastewater professionals, facilities and agencies. CWEA Awards recognize outstanding achievements within the wastewater field, improve the professional status of all personnel working in the wastewater industry and related fields and stimulate public awareness of the importance of wastewater treatment to public health and the water environment.