What Is Water Quality Day?

May 16, 2014

If you've never heard of Water Quality Day it's probably because it hasn't happened yet. However Friday, May 23 is Water Quality Day in Vermont. Organizers hope it will shine a light on the importance of quality wastewater treatment.

The Green Mountain Water Environment Association is the organization behind what it hopes will be the first annual Water Quality Day. The association is a non-profit trade organization that supports the work of water quality professionals in Vermont.

According to the association, Vermont has 90 publicly owned water treatment plants that transform billions of gallons of wastewater a year from residences, businesses, and stormwater systems into clean, safe water.

Participating plants will offer tours, refreshments and giveaways, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. A Water Quality Day press release explains:

On May 23rd, open house visitors will witness the path waste water takes from the sewer pipe to discharge of clean water and treated, recyclable solids. Wastewater treatment is a biological process, driven by trillions of microbes that clean water naturally, making it safe for the environment. It is a process designed to work every day, all day, to keep Vermont clean. When they see this process in action, kids and adults marvel; they never thought something so “gross” could be so fascinating.

Participating facilities include:

  • Brattleboro Wastewater Treatment Facility
  • Stowe Wastewater Treatment Facility
  • Bellows Falls Wastewater Treatment Facility
  • Milton Wastewater Treatment Facility
  • Montpelier Wastewater Treatment Facility
  • Middlebury Wastewater Treatment Facility
  • Burlington Main Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Windsor Wastewater Treatment Facility

There will also be a "biosolids land application" demonstration at a farm in Essex Junction. The Water Quality Day web page states:

One of the necessary byproducts of wastewater treatment are wastewater solids (sewage sludge). When they have been treated and tested and meet strict standards, they are called “biosolids” and are land applied as fertilizers and soil amendments, similar to animal manures. Land applied biosolids help farmers reduce costs for chemical fertilizers (resulting in less phosphorus imported into the Champlain Basin), while building healthier soils with trace nutrients and organic matter derived from a local source. Land application of biosolids also reduces costs for the wastewater treatment facility and its ratepayers.

Exact times and locations are listed on the Water Quality Day webpage.