Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Educational Saturday - Trip to the water source

On a recent (sunny) Saturday, we took a little trip around the corner to explore the origins of our tap water. Because we live in a housing compound with modern houses with running water, heating, and air conditioning (and bathrooms), we are a bit separate from the rest of our Chinese neighborhood, the villages around us.

The water treatment plant -- it turns out -- actually takes water from a private well in the skimpy woods behind our compound and cleans it up before it is is pumped to the homes. In our house, we then have an extra filtration system at the sink downstairs, to further clean the water, before we drink it. (Everyone I know either has this kind of filter at home, or buys their drinking water in big bottles, the kind you use for water coolers. Sadly though, there have been quite a few reports of people tampering with these bottles of drinking water and just bottling unsafe tap water, sealing it, and selling it as drinking water.)

When we arrive at the plant, first we dress up as scientists. Thanks to a four-year science degree I still remember which way to button my lab coat.

We're off to explore.

We were lucky to have an English speaking guide. My Chinese lessons still haven't covered "water treatment" and "filtration."

Storage tanks with clean water. 

A personal tour by Thomas.

The m.a.d. scientist.

One of the lead scientists at the place.

Checking the pH. Phew, pretty good.

pH findings confirmed by a second assessment.

I felt right back at home, as if it was 1992 and I am taking "Waterkwaliteit 1", an introduction to water quality, at Wageningen University. I even explained the concept of color titration to the boys, though I am not sure it made a lot of impact considering the vast knowledge they already have about Harry Potter style experiments.

And this is what it is all about!

In het Nederlands: we maken een tripje naar een waterzuiveringsinstallatie die hoort bij de wijk waar we wonen. We wonen hier niet echt in een Chinese wijk, maar in een "gesloten" wijk speciaal aangelegd voor rijkere Chinezen en buitenlanders. De huizen hier hebben allemaal water, electriciteit en W.C.s, wat in China nog niet helemaal de norm is. Het water in ons huis komt van een bron vlakbij. Nadat het gezuiverd is, komt het naar ons huis. Daar filteren we het zelf nog een keer en dan kunnen we het drinken. Gewoon kraanwater kan je hier in China niet drinken.

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