A group of environmental science students from Monaro High School visited Snowy Monaro Regional Council’s sewage treatment centre ‘The Glen’ in Cooma last Wednesday to learn about the science and engineering behind turning toilet water into river water.
Over the course of a little more than an hour, the comprehensive tour led by Council’s water and wastewater team took the students through every step of the process involved in treating sewage – from flush to microscope analysis, to discharge.
“Being able to offer real-life applications, such as visiting The Glen, is vital for my students to be able to develop the connections, skills and knowledge needed to succeed in science,” said Kasey Marks, LARC Coordinator and Science Teacher at Monaro High School.
“I have been taking classes there for over six years and have found the process to be simple to organise and the staff exceptionally knowledgeable and helpful.”
Educational experiences like these serve as important reminders of the immense amount of science, technology, engineering, and human effort and ingenuity at work with what may be viewed as the most mundane parts of modern life. From massive lagoons filled with bacteria through to high-tech ultraviolet sterilisers, even something as simple as toilets flushing shows progress and innovation.
Students also learned about a recent addition to the tasks at Council’s wastewater and sewage treatment plants: assisting with screening for COVID-19. In-line with NSW EPA requirements, Council employees at these facilities collect raw sewage inlet samples to send to laboratories in Sydney for analysis. Initiatives like this are underway in most regional areas across NSW.
“Council is very proud of our collaboration with the region’s educators,” said Mayor Peter Beer, Snowy Monaro Regional Council.
“We are always looking for ways to support our region’s young people and students, and I strongly encourage any schools, teachers and other educators to reach out to us to explore how we can work together.”