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Education Trailer, Bathroom, "What's the big deal about saving water?" - Iowa DNR

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Uploaded on Aug 2, 2011

Do you ever thing about the resources, besides the water itself, each time we turn on the faucet? Unfortunately, we can't just drink the water as nature provides it. It has to be cleaned first.

That process starts at a water treatment plant, where high-powered pumps bring the water from its source and move it through a very complicated plant. These pumps and processes use a lot of electricity. In fact, 4% of all the electricity generated in the entire country is used just to bring us water.
Even more energy is used to manufacture and transport all the chemicals needed for water treatment. These chemicals take little particles of the water, kill algae and bacteria, keep bubbles from forming, help prevent tooth decay, and keep the water from destroying our pipes and water towers. Once the water is processed, the ready-to-drink water is pumped through distribution pipes all over the city and up into a big water tower, where it's stored until we need it.

That's just half the story. What happens to the water after it goes down the drain? It has to be cleaned again before it goes back to nature.
That process starts at a wastewater treatment plant where more pumps use more electricity to move the wastewater into a holding pond. Heavy solids settle to the bottom and lighter particles like oil and grease float to the surface. The heavy and light stuff is removed. Some is held in an energy-consuming warming tank called a digester where good bacteria eat all the harmful stuff. Then the sludge is often either used as fertilizer or sent to a landfill.
Pumps move the water on to the secondary treatment, where more tiny helpful creatures called microorganisms are added to eat up the tiny bad stuff still in the water. The microorganisms are removed and the water goes off to the third state, which cleans up anything that was left over by the first two. Finally, it is ready to go back into nature.
By fixing leaks, adding low flow showerheads or just by turning off the tap, you are doing way more than just saving water. You are also saving electricity, fuel, reducing harmful greenhouse gases, saving landfill space and conserving a whole lot of natural resources need to clean our water, both coming from nature and going back to it.
Check out the virtual tour of the Mobile Education Exhibit at http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environment/La....

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