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  • Children of Eden written by Joey Graceffa
    By: Destiny Breniser This book was published in 2016 with its genre being Young Adult,  Dystopian, and Apocalyptic. This story is about Rowan, who is a second-born child living in a city where her entire existence is illegal. She longs for the day when she can leave her family’s house and live without fear.  She […]
  • An Unwanted Guest written by Shari Lapena
    By: Destiny Breniser A classic whodunnit that keeps you guessing till the very end. With twelve characters to read varying points of view from, there is always something happening to leave you wondering what is going on.  This book was published in 2018 with its genre being a mystery thriller. The story starts with Reily […]

Bowling Green sewage facilities perform waste wonders

For most people using the commode is a daily and forgettable event. One push of the lever, a whoosh and a gurgle and it’s over, never to be thought of again.

However, just because the wonders of modern plumbing have so graciously removed the waste doesn’t mean it has magically disappeared.

In fact, on a warm summer’s day anybody downwind of the Bowling Green Wastewater Treatment Plant is quickly reminded of that.

And it is where our involvement in the whole process leaves off that Joe Tillison’s job picks up.

“You actually get used to the smell pretty quickly,” he said.

As an operator at the treatment plant he is responsible for the day to day operations and maintenance of the many machines and filters used to clean the water.

These are used to separate the sludge, grease, grit and other solids from the water and Tillison said that he has been inside most of them at one point or another to replace broken valves.

“It’s usually the guy with the least seniority or the smallest guy who gets those jobs,” he said.

However, unless there is a malfunction, most of what Tillison does on a day-to-day basis requires copying down numbers from the machines and collecting various water samples to be tested for quality control.

“It’s really not that dirty of a job,” he said.

And while his clean clothes and lack of odor may support that statement, his description of the cleaning of digester tanks stands in stark contrast.

“We’ll drain them down and there will be a layer of grit. To clean them out you’re actually in hip waders and you’re in there waist deep,” Tillison said.

Digester tanks are huge open air containers where bacteria naturally break down solids in the water and grit resembles chunky, grainy mud without the innocence.

But even dirty jobs have their quirks and this is no exception.

One thing that can help break up the monotony of the daily routine is the strange items that sometimes filter out of the wastewater. Corn, tampons and condoms are the most common debris, but Tillison said the strangest thing he has ever discovered was a large rubber phallus.

“Sometimes I think all college kids do is just sit around and have sex,” he said.

Darrell Gebers, who is also an operator, said he will see animal entrails or dead fish on occasion, but nothing too unusual.

“I’ve found [false] teeth before though,” he said.

The treatment plant employs 14 people currently, most of whom operators.

Other positions include a sludge coordinator, a chemist, a superintendent and his assistant.

While operators like Tillison and Gebers take care of the maintenance of the plant, Superintendent Royce Beaverson is responsible for making sure the plant is up to standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

He said that keeping the plant up to code is not a problem because the water which comes out of the plant is regularly well below half of the legal limits for all of the regulated contaminants like ammonia, phosphorous or suspended solids.

“It does not meet water quality standards for drinking water but a couple small steps and it would,” he said.

But the water that is released from the plant is not what comes out of your faucets.

Drinking water comes from a separate facility in Maumee that is fed by the Maumee River.

“So if you have a problem with your drinking water it’s them, not us,” Beaverson said.

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