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Clean-Conscience Sewage Treatment

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Sewage treatment is fun to learn about in Bear River, Nova Scotia. The town's solar aquatic treatment system is actually a tourist destination for 2,000 visitors a year. What makes the plant so unique is that it relies on natural processes to help sanitize waste, which saves energy and doesn't cause water pollution.

Sewage treatment is fun to learn about in Bear River, Nova Scotia. The town's solar aquatic treatment system is actually a tourist destination for 2,000 visitors a year. What makes the plant so unique is that it relies on natural processes to help sanitize waste, which saves energy and doesn't cause water pollution. The first step involves removing any solids for composting. Next, the mixture is pumped through a greenhouse with 12 plastic solar tanks, each one a mini-ecosystem containing marine organisms such as bacteria, algae, plants and snails. As the water passes through, they eat and absorb organic materials. Then the sewage enters an artificial pond divided into three sections with more life forms that digest the waste. Any more solids are collected for a second round of composting. Exposure to strong ultraviolet light is a last defence to disinfect the effluent before it's discharged into the Bear River.

The 80,000-gallon plant cost $400,000 to build in 1995, at which time it became Canada's first solar aquatic system and the first fully operational facility in North America. For the 60 households of Bear River, it's also a low-waste, low-energy, esthetically pleasing and cost-effective sewage solution. Ph: 902-532-5419. Web site: < annapoliscounty.ns.ca >.

E magazine September/October 2001

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