WaterWorks: Turning trash into treasure

Ninety percent of WaterWorks' funding is through grant money.
Ninety percent of WaterWorks' funding is through grant money.

MORGAN COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - The old, abandoned pump station between Decatur and Hartselle is breathing new life into the local environment.

Jay Grantland is the project manager for the Alabama Mountains, Rivers and Valleys Resource, Conservation & Development Council.

"This was the water supply for the city of Hartselle for many years. It was closed down in part due to water quality issue with Flint Creek. It basically got to the point where it was just too difficult, too complex for this facility... somewhat outdates to treat the water fast enough," he said.

So Hartselle turned to Decatur for water and this place and the building sat idle for 30 years.

"Long story short, we purchased this facility from the city of Hartselle for $10, but it was in really bad shape," said Grantland.

So they reshaped it, converting the mechanical processes into big open pits with pond liners, creating various wetland eco systems.

Solar power pumps the water in where it is naturally cleaned through each area and put back into Flint Creek. Thanks to the solar panels, they make more energy than they use and get a check TVA every quarter.  The project costs just shy of a half million dollars.

On this day, home school students are getting a hands on lesson.

"What do we have in here? Paper. We shred our paper waste here and put it out here. And one thing to help with the composting is worms," said Grantland as he shows students how one of the composting stations work.

The team of home schooled children seem to like what they see.

"I thought it was really cool and interesting and it was very educational and I loved it," said 10-year-old Raegan McNeal.

Preston Jackson, 8 years old, agreed.

"Well, I think it's very good that they do it that way because they can conserve energy," he said.

"I think it's cool that they make the water clean," said 9-year-old Tommy Canady.

Hopes are high that hands on lessons like these will give tomorrow's leaders a healthy appreciation for Mother Nature.

"This teaches them how nature will naturally take care of itself if we protect those important environments, such as wetland eco systems," added Grantland.

Ninety percent of their funding is through grant money.

By turning the old water treatment facility into a bio-friendly learning adventure, the hope is that children will have a newfound respect for nature in Bobby's Bama.

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