In 2003, our Sewer Science program began providing students with a hands-on application of science as they simulate, clean, and test wastewater. Sewer Science is a 4-day wastewater treatment laboratory for high school students. All materials for the laboratory are provided by the Sanitation Districts. Facilitators are made available through a collaborative partnership between the Sanitation Districts and the Youth Science Center. Since its inception, the program has grown and is currently provided to approximately 5,000 students in Los Angeles County annually.
Think Earth Foundation
In 1998, we collaborated with regulators, educators, and agencies to establish the Think Earth Foundation. This program offers teachers curriculum materials for grades K-8. The curriculum relies on scientific principles to teach students the value of resource conservation, waste reduction, and pollution prevention.
In 2006, we partnered with regulators, educators, and agencies, again, to form the Think Watershed program. This collaborative partnership funds field trips for upper-elementary students in Los Angeles County on board a floating laboratory in Long Beach and Los Angeles Harbors; provides pre- and post-trip curriculum to maximize studentsâ€™ floating lab experience; and provides a website where students can compare results from on-board experiments.
Trash Free Lunch Challenge
In 2011, we partnered with Grades of Green to develop the Trash Free Lunch Challenge for schools in Los Angeles County. Since its inception, the challenge has supported 117 schools in implementing waste reduction programs, which has resulted in over 96,000 students educated and over 2,300 tons of trash diverted from landfills each year. The Trash Free Lunch Challenge is currently recruiting schools for the seventh annual Challenge.
Our facilities are open to the community through a tours program. In 2004, we expanded the program by reimbursing schools for the buses needed to bring students on site. This program invites interested parties to experience operations first hand by touring our facilities. Tours are provided to regulators, elected officials, agencies, educators, and the general public. The tours last approximately 1 to 2 hours depending on the facility being visited. We welcome both children and adults, but require that children be at least 10 years of age.
In 2007, we co-hosted our first Earth Day Event with the Central Basin Municipal Water District. This annual fair is now hosted by the Sanitation Districts at our main office in Whittier. Community members are invited to tour a water reclamation plant and a materials recovery facility, create eco-friendly arts and crafts, and visit over 50 exhibitors at this educational event focused on protecting the environment.
Fifth Grade Water Education Program (Project WET)
In 2006, we started Project WET. This is a free water education program for fifth graders, provided through the Youth Science Center in the San Gabriel Valley. This program explores topics such as the water cycle; the value of water resources in Southern California; and water treatment, recycling, and conservation. Students participate in a hands-on laboratory and a classroom instructor is also provided. The program is taught for 3 weekly sessions, usually in 2 to 3 classrooms per session.
Keystone Science School
In 2001, we began sponsoring an exceptional educator within our service area to attend the Keystone Science School. This program gives educators the process, skills, and confidence to investigate current environmental issues and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) topics with their students.
Mohave Environmental Education Consortium (MEEC)
In 2001, we started contributing to MEEC, which is a grass-roots effort created to better serve educators, students and communities within our service area. This program provides environmental educational resources to STEM teachers. All of MEECâ€™s services are provided free of charge, thanks to the generosity of MEECâ€™s 40-plus local sponsors.
World Water College Grant Program
In 2004, we collaborated with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) and the United States Bureau of Reclamation to found the World Water College Grant Program. This program provides opportunities for college students to research, develop, and communicate water conservation technology in water-stressed regions such as Southern California. The Sanitation Districts have contributed to the College Grant Program since its inception in 2004. Through a competitive grant process, participating students are challenged to develop (1) conservation technology prototypes and communication strategies to save water; (2) new approaches and policies that help people think about using or allocating water differently; and (3) innovative ways to access, clean, use and save water in their everyday lives. Since 2004, the College Grant Program has disbursed over $400,000 in grant funding to 40 community college and university teams representing the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, San Bernardino, Ventura, and San Diego.
The Sanitation Districts have been recognized by a number of organizations in the wastewater field, including the California Water Environment Association (CWEA); the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES); the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA); Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF); and the Water Environment Federation (WEF). Among the most recent awards are:
·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Municipal Project of the Year Award â€“ The Sanitation Districts and Waste Management for their innovative project involving the recycling and conversion of food waste to green energy (from American Biogas Council)
Â ·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Utility of the Future â€“ Recognition Program (from WEF, EPA, WE&RF, WateReuse, and NACWA)
Â ·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Grand Prize â€“ Operations Management â€śWaste Not, Want Not â€“ Recycling Food Waste at a Wastewater Treatment Plantâ€ť (from AAEES)
Â ·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Recycled Water Agency of the Year â€“ Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County (from WateReuse)
Â ·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Grand Prize â€“ Planning Category, Excellence in Environmental Engineering Competition, â€śThe Clearwater Program â€“ Beyond Tunnel Visionâ€ť (from AAEES)
Â ·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Grand Prize â€“ Operations/Management Category, Excellence in Environmental Engineering Competition, â€śInnovative Energy Management Proves That It Pays to Be Greenâ€ť (from AAEES)
Â ·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Grand Prize â€“ Research Category, Excellence in Environmental Engineering Competition, â€śSequential Chlorination: An Innovative Approach for Disinfection of Recycled Waterâ€ť (from AAEES)
·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Platinum, Gold and Silver Awards for Compliance with Treatment Plant Discharge Requirements at the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant and the upstream Water Reclamation Plants (from NACWA)
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