Stopping Over

Stopping Over

As hunting season ended last January, ducks and geese began making pit stops on their way south at the City of Quincy (Ill.) Water Pollution Control Facility. “They feel safe,” says pretreatment coordinator Dan Ebbing, an employee of American Water Enterprises, which operates the 15 mgd (average) activated sludge plant.

A cold climate doesn’t leave much open water, but ducks and geese found some at the plant. “We sit on the Mississippi River, so we’re right in the fly zone,” says Ebbing. “We have a large pond on the property that attracts them. When that’s frozen over they land in the final clarifiers.”

Ducks are regular visitors on the grounds, but Canada geese were new this year. “The clarifiers aren’t large enough, so geese can’t get enough momentum to fly out of the basins,” says Ebbing. “One day was really windy though, so they were landing like helicopters.” To escape, “They hovered straight up and then got going.”

Seeing wildlife on the grounds is fun for most plant staff members. But for chief operator and avid waterfowl hunter Greg Frieden, it’s more like a temptation. “He goes crazy seeing the ducks and geese around here,” says Ebbing. “I tell him, ‘They’re just teasing you by coming here.’”


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