Teaming up for water education

Seventy freshmen at Holy Cross High School were immersed in water education over two days this fall. Louisville Water and Louisville MSD teamed up to offer a high school program based on the newly created River-to-River joint education partnership.

Students spent one day getting an in-depth overview of what each company does in the community. Employees visited Holy Cross and took students on a deep dive into the treatment processes for drinking water, wastewater and storm water.

Students learned the role that utilities play in ensuring public health and environmental responsibility. Hands-on offerings included a flood and watershed model offered by MSD. Items representing pet waste, trash, fertilizers, and pesticides were added to the watershed model to simulate what happens in the environment when rain and storms carry these items into our water sources.

Through use of a flood model, students also learned how heavy rains can affect the city. In addition, both companies offered lessons that used the students as models to show the steps in their treatment processes.

On day two, the students visited Louisville Water’s facilities and the treatment plant for MSD at Floyd’s Fork. At these locations, they “walked” through the processes and got a behind-the-scenes look at the work that goes into treatment.

This visit included hands-on activities that taught the students about water quality, distribution, treatment, and environmental impact.

Students and teachers alike seemed to find the visits educational and interesting. Feedback from students included, “I enjoyed the interactive parts of the visit because I was learning while being hands-on. This helps my understanding,” and “I liked being able to interact with the presenters and the examples they presented to us.”

One teacher said, “I thought it was all well-planned and organized. The presenters were well-informed.”

Holy Cross, like many schools in the service area, has a strong connection with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programming. The Louisville Water and MSD program allowed the students to connect with their utilities and take a deeper look at the science and engineering that are cornerstones of both companies.

In addition, the program offered the students a glimpse into possible jobs and careers in STEM fields. In all, this program was a great extension of River- to-River and a nice adaptation for the high school level.