TRAVIS COUNTRY, TX (KXAN) – What’s the most unique field trip you went on as a kid? For students with the Central Texas FIRST Lego League, it may be to the Flintrock Wastewater Treatment Plant to get an up close look at the science behind getting rid of our poop.
“I thought it was cool, because it was foggy,” said Yuvaan Iyer with FLL. “I wanted to know if it was like poop water.”
The plant uses automation to clean the water, which is why the STEM focused group booked the tour.
Matt Gonzalez, with Flintrock, guided students through the operation.
“This is where all the solids go after the water has settled on top?” One student shouted at Matt as they overlooked a massive vat of bubbling water.
According to Gonzalez, water at the plant is treated organically and then used to irrigate the nearby golf course. The “organic” treatment: bugs.
“They pour like little bugs into the water,” Iyer said.
While another child, Nathan Liu, said “the bugs eat all the things that harm the water.”
Gonzalez told the kids that keeping the bugs happy is one of the most important parts of their job and where the science comes in. If happy, they also help with the smell.
The leftovers, once the water is treated, get converted into fertilizer. “There’s some rollers that will flatten them, and then they will go to a box somewhere. Since it’s for fertilizer,” said Vihas Makam.
For the kids, the somewhat stinky trip was a little unusual, but they said they learned a lot. “Asking questions is a good trait because like you get to learn more,” said Adi Jain.