Friday, October 18, 2013

Week 3: Field Trip to Alcoa

This Thursday, the group visited Alcoa's waste water treatment system in New Kensington. There, the teens learned how Alcoa treats their waste water from the kitchens and bathrooms of their facilities. One of their environmental engineers led the tour through their Natural Engineered Wastewater Treatment system, or as they call it, NEWT. The water is first pumped to a wetland area in which air is filtered through in order to allow microbes to flourish. The microbes break down the solid waste, and use it as their own energy. The cattail plants in the wetland also utilize some of the waste as energy. The water is then filtered into a separate pond where it is treated with bauxite residue, a byproduct of Alcoa's aluminum production. The purified water is then tested, to be sure no pollutants remain.

To the right, the wetland area that aids in purifying the wastewater from Alcoa's facilities, to the left is the pond where the water is treated with bauxite

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