Thursday, September 20, 2007

Paris Waste Water Treatment

In fact, it was quite beautiful. Imagine yourself in Paris, watching the sun set... with the conical water tower in the background, and a very faint smell. The Paris wastewater treatment plant hosted a group of us from the UNESCO New Directions conference on a tour of their facility. It's privately operated so they have fancy advertising. They wined and dined us. It took a brief adjustment period for me to embrace the idea of eating delicate little Parisian chocolates just after walking through all of that microbial action. But it was alright. I was most interested to learn that Paris did not have its own treatment plant until the early 1980s, before which time, some of the city's waste (that wasn't sent away) found it's way directly into the river. That was not very long ago. Now, however, they have a fancy wastewater treatment facility with activated sludge and hopes of marketing their biosolids as fertilizer. I think the translater was a little bit surprized to find himself saying that the solid waste is treated and they hope to sell to people one day for their own use.

We dressed up in these fantastic outfits with baseball-shaped hard hats, very fashionable safety vests and headphones for our translation. I really wanted to wear my outfit around Paris, but I had to leave it at the treatment plant for the next group.

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