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May 15, 2018 > Union Sanitary District celebrates 100th Anniversary

Union Sanitary District celebrates 100th Anniversary

By Roelle Balan

Union Sanitary District (USD) serves the cities of Union City, Newark, and Fremont. The facility treats water that flows from sinks, toilets, and bathtubs and any other drain before it is released into the San Francisco Bay. Were the last line of defense otherwise the sewage would just be going out to the Bay and that causes all sorts of problems, so we?re treating it, making sure the Bay stays clean, said Paul Eldredge, General Manager of USD.

USD is hosting their centennial celebration on Saturday May 19 with activities, tours, interactive displays, refreshments and food. At a similar open house May 2015, about 1,100 people attended. Treatment plant tours proved to be a popular attraction; Eldredge explained there were people at the open house that didnt get a chance to go on those tours. The tours were guided back then, attendees picked up by bus and escorted every 20 to 30 minutes. We had more people wanting to go on a tour than we had tours available, Eldredge said. Many signed up for a tour following the open house and 200-250 people came back later to take the tour.

Plant tours at the centennial will be a little different this year. A self-guided tour allows visitors to walk through the plant at their own pace, asking tour guides questions. This way were not limiting how many people can go on the tour, said Eldredge.

Michelle Powell, Communications and Intergovernmental Relations Coordinator of USD, explained that on the day of the event, attendees will be guided to a parking space. Participants do not need to register, they can just walk in, see displays and take the tour.

For most people, what happens after you flush the toilet is out of sight out of mind, Eldredge said. Not many people spend that much time thinking about it but theres curiosity about what really happens there. He explained how surprised people were about the significant efforts necessary to treat wastewater. I think it really opened their eyes to how incredibly complicated and complex the process and the treatment plant is, Eldredge said.

Students interested in a technical career will find valuable information at the centennial as well. They can meet and talk to chemists, engineers, mechanics, and other staff members of USD. I think the engineering and technical types are just fascinated by this type of stuff, Eldredge said. We have a little bit of something for everybody. Powell added, Many displays will inform residents about protecting the environment.

People can expect many fun displays and activities for the whole family. For example, Mechanic for a Minute is especially popular. It allows an attendee to accept a work assignment from the Fabrication, Maintenance, and Construction team, then use a chain hoist to finish the task. A watershed diorama demonstrates how pollutants affect the environment and in the Save the Fish game, participants fish for pollutants with a magnetic pole.

Get ready for a day filled with stimulating conversation, food, games and fun for all ages.

Union Sanitary District Centennial Open House
Saturday, May 19
10 a.m. ? 2 p.m.
5072 Benson Rd, Union City
(510) 477-7500
Free admission

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