Anyone for ‘Poo Soup’?
On Thursday, 27 June, pupils in Year 1 & 2 were fortunate to visit Thames Water’s Sewage Treatment Works at Didcot, for a behind the scenes tour with Seb and Jennifer.
The boys began by testing whether so-called ‘flushable toilet wipes’ disintegrate in the same way that toilet paper does, or whether their plastic content means they behave more like regular baby wipes, a.k.a. fat berg menaces! The results of their experiments proved that microfibers can still end up in the food chain when flushable wipes end up in the sewer – and who wants to be eating plastic in their fish fingers!
Kitted out in their ‘PP Gear’ (personal protection gear), the boys and adults all headed outside for a tour of the site, which certainly stimulated our sense of smell! We followed the 12-hour journey of sewage from when it arrives at the inlet to when clean water is pumped back into a nearby stream. It’s fascinating to know that there are 350 computer operated sewage treatment works all across the UK, carrying out the same process! The boys saw giant sieves at work that strain out large items such as nappies and wet wipes, then moved on to the Primary Settlement Tanks where sludge is siphoned off and clean water moves on to be aerated. Fish in the nearby stream were all gathered close to the outlet to enjoy the highly aerated water!
Perhaps the most memorable part of the day came after lunch, when the boys were put into teams to see who could design the most effective water filtering system. Before this could happen, Jennifer and Seb created a disgusting ‘poo soup’, consisting of poo, wee, flour, oil and all sorts of other debris that is found in sewers. The boys applied what they had learnt during the day and put the materials provided to good use. Most impressive was the fact that each boy was able to justify his design choice and then reflect on its success.
A great day was had by all!