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MWRA Writing Contest Winners 2005-2006
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

Honorable Mention Winner, Grades 3-5

Cate Pappano, Grade 4
Cunningham School, Milton

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The Adventures of Tweety Bird, Jr.

My name is Tweety Bird Jr. and I live in the woods near the Quabbin Reservoir. One day, as I soared above the reservoir I saw a pipe near the edge of the water. I flew down and went into the pipe. Once I was inside, the water began to rush, moving me along with it. It was a long trip because the Quabbin Reservoir is about 65 miles west of Boston. I was thirsty so I decided to have a drink. The water tasted good because it is very high quality. I knew it was safe to drink because I saw a lot of people working at the plant checking the water. There was so much water that I looked around for information. I read a sign that said the reservoirs (the Quabbin and the Wachusett) provide an average of 220 million gallons of water per day.

I flew around the treatment plant trying to find an office. I found one on the second level. On the desk there was information about the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA). Here are some things I learned. Eastern Massachusetts gets its water from the Quabbin and Wachusett reservoirs. I also learned how the water gets into the reservoirs and how it travels to different homes. The reservoirs are filled by nature. Snow melts and falling rain creates small streams that flow into the reservoirs. As the water travels over rocks, plants, and soil, it is cleaned. It stays clean because the reservoirs are protected. No one, except birds like me, is allowed to live near them so they don't get polluted and don't turn orange. The water leaves the reservoirs through pipes that bring it to a treatment plant. That is how I arrived. At the plant, fluoride is added for healthy teeth, the water is disinfected, and chemicals are added to keep water from getting contaminated on its way into homes. The treated water leaves the plants through tunnels or pipes that go all the way to people's homes. People get water out of the tap and use it for washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning themselves, cooking and, of course, drinking.

It was getting late so I followed the pipes back to my house in the woods. The next day I flew to bird school where I had lots of questions for my science teacher, Rockin Robin. She told me that I was lucky that I ended up at the water treatment plant and not the sewerage treatment plant. I thought about it and screamed Yuck! Ms. Robin decided to teach the class about wastewater. This is what I learned.

Used water from kitchens and bathrooms is flushed into pipes that take it to a sewage treatment plant. More than 2 million people send wastewater to the MWRA treatment plants in Boston Harbor. Most of the wastewater flows by gravity into the treatment plants. Some of the water is too low and needs to be pumped. Once the water arrives it goes through a process to separate the solid waste from the liquid waste. Both solid and liquids are treated and then returned to nature either deep into the ocean or into landfills. People working at the MWRA are careful to check that toxic materials get taken out of the waste before it is sent out of the plant. Everybirdie can help by not wasting water.

When I got home I was so excited to tell my mommy all about my day. I told her about the treatment plants and all the other sewage and water problems. That night I thought about all the things I learned. I realized that all those humans wouldn't have to do all that work if we, birdies, saved the water we're not using. So I talked to my friends about saving water and they said they would help. From now on we will be saving water by turning off the tap when we're not using it and trying not to use water when we don't need it. I've learned a lot about our water and sewage and I hope you have too.

Tweety Bird Jr.
(Cate Pappano, 4th grade, Mile. Stephens)

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