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Water School (Stuff for Student Projects)

Welcome to the Water School.  You will find photos, information, and lots of stuff to help with your school project.  If you do not find what you are looking for click here and it will be emailed to you the next business day. 
kids at sink

Our drinking water is pumped from the Catawba River -- either at Mountain Island Lake or Lake Norman -- to one of three treatment plants where the water is cleaned, tested, and pumped into the distribution system.

Water Facts                                           Water History

How Water is Treated                            Water Treatment Plants

Water Quality - Annual Reports              Water Lab 

Map of water system                              Water Stars - Local Water Reduction Winners   

10 WAYS TO CONSERVE WATER    (A printable PDF version) 

In the Kitchen 

1. Only run the dishwasher when it's full and necessary. Use the 'short' cycle if your machine has that option.
2. Take a break from dishes on the weekend - use paper products instead.
3. Don't use the garbage disposal; toss scraps in the garbage bin instead.
4. Rinse produce with a bowl of water rather than running the faucet. Use leftover water for plants.

In the Bathroom

5. Put timers in your family bathrooms to encourage shorter showers. Reducing your time in the shower by one minute will save hundreds of gallons per household each month.
6. Replace older shower heads with new low-flow models.
7. Only flush the toilet when necessary.
8. Place a bucket in the shower to collect water while it heats up. Use the water on plants or to flush the toilet.
9. Running water faucets use 2-3 gallons per minute. Men should consider using an electric shaver or turning off the water while they shave.
10. Put some food dye in the back of the toilet tank. If the dye appears in the toilet bowl within 15 minutes, your toilet is leaking and should be fixed.

Water Laboratory                                                                                                                        (back to top)
Staff tests the water more than150,000 times a year.  That is 400 tests a day!
Why is pH important?
If drinking water is too acidic, it will begin to dissolve the pipes that bring the water to your house.  The pH scale goes from 0-14. If the pH of a solution is less than 7, the solution is an acid. If the pH is greater than 7, the solution is a base.

     Examples of acids: lemon juice and vinegar
     Examples of bases: baking soda and soapy water.
     The pH of our water is maintained between 7.8 and 9.2.  It is a base.

Dissolved Oxygen
Dissolved oxygen is important because fish need it to breathe. The water treatment plant monitors the dissolved oxygen level of incoming lake water.

Chlorine is important because it kills the bacteria in the water. Our drinking water typically contains 0.2 mg/l - 1.6 mg/l of chlorine.

Where Does It Go When You Flush a Toilet?                                                                           (Back to top)

All the water used for baths, showers, brushing teeth, cleaning clothes, and even flushing toilets has to go somewhere.  It leaves your home by traveling in underground pipes.  The pipes use gravity to pull the wastewater down to a wastewater treatment plant.  These plants clean the wastewater and put the water back into creeks.  Below are the steps it takes to clean wastewater.

Two guys inspecting manhole before inserting a robotic camer to inspect the pipes.

Crews use robotic cameras to check wastewater pipes

How Wastewater is Treated                                           Wastewater Treatment Plants

Wastewater Spills and Annual Reports                             Map of wastewater system

At each of our five wastewater treatment plants, State-certified wastewater treatment plant operators work 24 hours a day, 365 days per year -- constantly testing the wastewater to ensure its safety.  The wastewater we treat does not include storm water runoff.

wastewater treatment plant at nightThese photographs are available for downloading.  Just 'Right-click' them with your mouse and 'Save As' onto your computer.                      watertreatment.jpg                wastewatertreatment.jpg


EPA's WaterSense Game