WINTHROP – She’s affectionately known as “the toilet lady,” but Meg Tabacsko, the manager of the MWRAs school education program, makes learning about water and the MWRA fun. Last week, with her assistant Vicki Mucci, the two spent last week with students from the Fort Banks School.
Starting with kindergarten students, the MWRA education program goes into the classrooms and teaches children about what the MWRA does and what takes place at the Deer Island treatment facility. After the Fort Banks School the lessons will continue on with the Cummings School fourth graders.
In kindergarten students learn about the importance of having water and what happens if there is no water. In first grade students take a 25-foot piece of paper, draw buildings and connect them to the water system. Second graders test the Ph of different kinds of water, determining if it is acid, neutral or alkaline. Third graders learn about storm drains, Deer Island, the digester and liquid sludge. Fourth graders go into more detail with a program called, “Down the Drain.”
There are a lot of misconceptions
on the waste water side,” Tabacsko said. “We’re not cleaning Boston Harbor. We’re cleaning waste water.”
Students learn how the digester at Deer Island works just like the human digestion system, including the byproduct of methane gas. They also learn about the Quabbin Reservoir being the largest manmade reservoir in the country.
“We keep it in simple. Factual terms,” Tabacsko said. So simple that one third grade student learned how Deer Island never shuts down. “He said, ‘it’s kind of like IHOP, it’s open 24-7.”
She told him that even on Christmas at 2 a.m. someone is there cleaning the water so everyone can flush. The MWRA services 61 communities and the education program is available to all member communities.