Each year, both the Aquia and Little Falls Run wastewater treatment facilities host an array of curious grade-schoolers and residents eager to learn about where all the wastewater goes. Due to COVID-19, many schools are shifting to virtual learning and are therefore canceling many of their previously scheduled field trips. Because wastewater treatment facility tours are such an impactful learning opportunity, Stafford’s Department of Public Works has partnered with the schools to create a virtual tour. Students will now be able to follow the water through the treatment process and back into the Rappahannock River- all from the comfort of their home!
Stafford’s Department of Public Works worked with the Schools to incorporate components of the Virginia Department of Education’s grade six science standards of learning (SOL) into the virtual wastewater treatment facility tour. Facility tours have long been a valuable learning tool because they encourage students to think about responsible water use and the complexity of the water cycle. Every home and business in Stafford County uses water and generates wastewater – from toilets, showers, baths and even washing machines. By showing students the wastewater treatment process, it allows them to understand the impact they have on public health as well as the health of the waterways.
“Tours provide an authentic learning opportunity and allow for several interesting questions like, what’s the most unusual item ever recovered from the treatment plant and has anyone ever asked that an item that was recovered be returned to them,” says Little Falls Run Wastewater Treatment Facility Manager, Jason Cook.
Another exciting component of this tour is that it features Stafford’s award-winning wastewater treatment facility - Little Falls Run. Little Falls Run is one of only eight wastewater treatment facilities to receive the 15 Year Platinum National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) Award in the United States and the only one in Virginia. This award, given to wastewater treatment facilities that are 100 percent compliant with permits over a consecutive five-year period, has been maintained at Little Falls Run for the last fifteen years. This accolade is an impressive distinction and just one example of the commitment, innovation and achievements of the professionals at Stafford’s Department of Public Works.
To learn more about the wastewater treatment process and find out about the vital role that you play in protecting public health and the health of waterways and the wildlife that depends on them, click here: https://staffordcountyva.gov/2124/Facility-Tours.