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Area students learn about utilities, safety

New Richmond Utilities delivered several interactive presentations to local students that explained and demonstrated the functions of the utility while encouraging hands-on learning and active participation.

The presentations educated local students about water, wastewater treatment, electricity delivery and safety.

One such activity, "PowerTown," was used to educate second grade students in New Richmond about the hazards of power lines and safe electrical practices.

PowerTown is an eight-foot electrical safety model that demonstrates the dangerous effects of contact with overhead power lines, transformers, downed overhead power lines and more. With the crackle of a high voltage electrical arc, the PowerTown presentation makes a lasting impression to reinforce electrical safety messages while miniature homes, people, cars and low-level electrical currents visually demonstrate hazards.

Another activity educated fourth grade students about energy use through a bicycle in a "Pedal Power" demonstration. Students rode the Pedal Power bicycle, provided by New Richmond Utilities' power supplier WPPI Energy, and learned the amount of energy it would take to power a light bulb, radio, fan and more.

Pedaling became increasingly more difficult as additional electrical loads were added, teaching students that it takes a lot less energy to light a fluorescent light bulb than it does an incandescent light bulb.

"New Richmond Utilities continues to support the development and implementation of energy education programs for our students, as it is our goal to educate the next generation of energy users and allow them to experience and understand energy-saving principles in action," said Beth Thompson, utility customer service representative.

Fourth grade students also learned about the water and wastewater systems in New Richmond. Students learned about the local water cycle, including the process for pumping the water from wells and where the water goes after it is used at home. The water and wastewater departments also provided a Vactor truck demonstration. Vactor trucks are used for clearing, cleaning and opening clogged catch basins, manholes and storm sewers.

Additional presentations from New Richmond Utilities included a 20-minute "Louie the Lightning Bug" video that focused on electrical use and safety, as well an electrical safety demonstration provided at the Friday Memorial Library on May 12, with an electric department line truck onsite for visitor demonstrations.

For more information, contact New Richmond Utilities at 715-246-4167.