An interview with Geography and Environmental Studies (ES) major Brian Zabel (’14), who is conducting an internship with the City of St. Peter, MN.
Q: What is your internship?
Brian: I work in the laboratories of the Broadway Water Treatment facility and the Waste Water Treatment facility of St. Peter, MN. My title is lab technician intern. I started the internship on January 6, 2014, and am continuing the internship through this spring semester. I assist with the daily protocols for efficiently running and maintaining the facilities that are required by governing bodies and regulations, such as the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, US Department of Agriculture, and the Clean Water Act.
Q: How did you become interested in municipal water management?
Brian: I became interested in working at the plants after realizing how important and valuable clean fresh water is through knowledge gained from upper-level classes of my ES and Geography majors. Clean fresh water will become one of the most valuable resources in the near future.
Q: What should people know about the City of St. Peter’s water?
Brian: St. Peter’s municipal water is drawn to the surface through several wells that are all located at different depths to draw from different aquifers. The City’s water is treated with reverse osmosis filtering and a few other processes before it is safe for consumption. The city itself is split into an upper and lower half: the wells and pumps at the St. Julien Water Treatment plant supply the lower half and the wells and pumps at the Broadway water treatment plant supply the upper half. After any water is used and enters a drain through a sink, shower, toilet, etc., it is transferred to the waste water treatment facility. Here, the influent water is treated through several process to remove harmful bacteria, pathogens, oils, and solid materials (like garbage). Once the water is treated, it is then pumped into the Minnesota River as clean effluent water.
Q: What do you like best about this internship?
Brian: It’s interesting to relate subjects I learned about in geography, chemistry, geochemistry, and geology to the real world and a job setting. It is also very neat to have personally tested all water that enters and exits the city.