Ah, yes, I think I’ll send this post off to Rep. Mike Beard, whose family, like mine, used to spend days off touring infrastructure. This really brought back memories of touring coal plants and dams!

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This is Red Wing’s new Twin Bluffs Water Treatment Facility — it’s the input into the city water system, damn, I wanted to see the output!

For some reason it’s not comforting to know that:

The raw water quality in the City of Red Wing contains radionuclides above the future maximum contaminant level, as set forth by the Minnesota Department of Health and US EPA. In addition to radionuclides, the raw water contains iron and manganese that can cause red and black staining throughout the distribution system… The recommended alternative was to construct two new treatment plants on sites where quality raw water could be found. These treatment plants would be capable of removing the radionuclides, as well as the iron and manganese.

Radionuclides???? Hmmmmmm… So that’s why my pups glow in the dark…

It was a great turn out, I guess I’m not the only infrastructure nut on the planet.

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They gave tours of the new plant, open only one month so far.

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The Red Wing water comes not from the river, but from wells 620 feet down, which sounds like the Jordan aquifer, not the Mt. Simon one that the Waseca gas is stored in! Whew! They add potassium permanganate and manganese sulfate, and it goes through a filter, and supposedly antracite and green sand filters out the iron and manganese, and radionuclides are filtered out with oxidized manganize. Every now and then, they pressurize backwash out the filters, let that settle and run that through the system again too, with the sludge going to the sanitary sewer system for treatment at the wastewater treatment facility. Is that where the radionuclides go? Another hmmmmm… All of this chemical adding used to be done “by hand” and now it’s all computerized, run off a PC up in the office with a yellow lab screensaver. The chemicals are parsed out in “The Chemical Room,” a room that reminded me of a milking parlor, clean, bright, and that strange sucking sound.

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It turned out Mayor Donna Dummer was in the group! Although I voted for her, I’ve never met her, and we had an email exchange on Friday on a city issue… funny how that works! Here she is, on the left, talking with the rest of the group, the gracious tour guide is on the right.

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Midway through the tour, we were joined by Councilman Gary Nordmark, the new At Large member. He said that next spring, the wastewater treatment plant, over by the Izaak Walton house and Barn Bluff, will be open for full tours. I can’t wait!

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