All the water that drains from your house, including the toilet, goes underground through pipes to the wastewater treatment plant in Santa Barbara. On average, each person in the City of Santa Barbara contributes 120 gallons of water per day (about 5 bath tubs full) to the wastewater system! Once the water, and everything in the water including the toilet paper, poop, soap, chucks of food from the kitchen, etc, gets to the wastewater treatment plant....then the water is cleaned. At the plant the stuff in the water (including poop) is first removed by allowing the water to sit in both big tanks and ponds. As the water just sits there without moving, the big stuff settles to the bottom. This stuff can then be removed and separated from the water. The water that remains still contains some solids and dissolved materials so the water needs to under go more treatment. The next step is to put the still dirty water into tanks in which micro-organisms grow. These micro-organisms eat the remaining organic material and nutrients (dissolved poop!!). There are a few more steps to clean the water including removing the micro-organisms that ate the dissolved poop and straining the water some more. You can read in more detail about these steps at the web-page for your local waste-water treatment plant (see link below). You can probably call them up and ask for a tour so you can see this process on your own. It is kind of yucky but also very interesting at the same time. If it really interests you can even go to college to be a environmental engineer and specialize in waste-water treatment. Have fun!
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