I cannot believe that this Saturday is the Athens Water Festival.  It’s finally here!  September 8, 2012, from 10am-2pm, we’ll be at Sandy Creek Park with members of Team Water, Water Reclamation Facilities, Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services (which includes Bear Hollow staff!), and many more local organizations!  We have planned all kinds of hands-on, interactive activities and games for families. It’s only a $2 entry fee, and all the activities, including the recycled boat regatta, are free! Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me! Now, the premise behind this festival is to celebrate water: obviously, Annaliese, thanks.  But, it’s special this year, because we get to celebrate the 50th anniversary of wastewater treatment in Athens! So we’re focusing on wastewater: where it goes, how it gets cleaned, who cleans it, and what happens to it after it’s clean. 

For some background, water reclamation is the process of taking wastewater, “reclaiming” it, cleaning it, and returning it to the source.  We have only had such a service since 1962…even before the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972!  This means that Athens had leading edge environmental policies before the federal government did (I’m proud to call this city my home).  By 1964, Athens had two plants up and running: one serving the North Oconee discharge and one serving the Middle Oconee basin.  Now, as I mentioned in last week’s blog [you can read it here], we have three plants that work 24/7, 365 days a year to clean the water we’re returning to our rivers.  In fact, the reclamation facilities regularly return cleaner water to our rivers than what we pulled out of them in the first place– I think that’s pretty cool.  I could go on, but this link’s author said it much better than I ever could: “Why a Reclamation Celebration?”

The reclamation process might not sound conducive for family-friendly field events, but I am betting you and your kids will have tons of fun. Some of the activities—each sponsored by a different organization—include: dirt dessert, Enviroscape activity, memory games, see water bugs from our own streams, meet some animals that are water lovers, learn about the water chemistry of our rivers, and more!  Sounds pretty fun, and my favorite part about it is that it’s educational, too!  I love it when I can learn something while I’m playing a game (wait, does that make me nerdy? Eh, it’s to be expected from a science geek)! Speaking of science geeks, kids should check with their schools about receiving extra credit for attendance.  Sneakily enough, most of the activities do meet curriculum standards…which makes these games even cooler (Yup, big nerd.). I’m very excited to introduce this festival to the blog world: hopefully this will put it on your radar, if it wasn’t already!  A few last minute tips to remember:

  • Food will be available for a small purchase, with proceeds going to a local charity!
  • Bring a swimsuit, Lake Chapman (at the Park) will be open for swimming!
  • Bring water bottles, we’ll have a free refilling station to keep everyone hydrated!
  • Bring your excitement, we’ll match you: this festival is going to be splashingly awesome!

Originally posted on waterconservationstation.blogspot.com, 9/4/12


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