Earth Day was created in 1970 as a way to promote environmental awareness and the ecological health of the world absent any geo-political agenda. In that sense it is truly a "global" holiday, with now about 175 countries participating in its observance.
Pickerington is taking an interactive approach to the observance of Earth Day by inviting area residents to witness first-hand the inner-workings of the city's Water Reclamation Department Treatment Plant at 525 Hill Road South Monday, April 22.
The open house is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and refreshments will be served. The facility is located south of the entrance to Pickerington High School Central.
"We invite everybody, employees, citizens, anybody that wants to show up," said David Jackson, the plant's chief operator.
"We have a pretty nice state-of-the-art Water Reclamation Plant," he said.
Jackson said the "Water Reclamation Team" will provide tours of the facility to educate the public about how the plant protects the environment.
"We want to promote an understanding of just what it is we do down here," he said. "There are some misconceptions about what a wastewater treatment plant is like."
This marks the third year in a row the city has opened up the plant to visitors.
"One of the first things people realize is how tidy it is and that there is a minimal amount of odor," Jackson said, adding people are equally surprised to see "the amount of technology involved."
"Utilizing sophisticated radio telemetry, the pumping stations are monitored 24 hours a day by computers at the treatment plant," Jackson said.
He said computers also monitor the five remote pump stations in the city's collection system that convey the wastewater to the main plant.
Jackson said having a well-equipped lab and maintenance shop allows for a majority of discharge monitoring testing to be performed "in-house" which saves time and money.
He said there are currently 4,521 customers who utilize Pickerington's water reclamation or "sewer" facilities that handle a peak flow of 8.8 million gallons per day of wastewater.
"I like for (residents) to see where their money goes," Jackson said.
He said a representative from the Ohio EPA, Jon VanDommelen, will be at the open house "with a projector microscope discussing the microscopic flora and fauna that helps us treat the waste- water."
An AirEvac LifeTeam helicopter will also land at the site, near the filter building, and be available for inspection for the duration of the open house, barring any medical calls.