Tour of the new septic system and a run-in with The Presence

2009-08-21 09:42:22.000 – Scott Wehrwein,  Summit Intern

Important Signage

Anyone who’s been to the summit during the winter months knows that the summit staff has to be rather careful about how much water is used. Although we have well access to as much clean water as we need, any water we use has to be stored in tanks because the leach fields for our summer septic system are frozen.

This summer, however, construction has been happening on a new septic system designed to process our waste water year round without relying on leach fields. The system was recently completed and as of yesterday morning, we’ve switched entirely over to the new system from our old summer system. Last night we got an inside tour of the facility.

It was smaller than I expected—it’s housed in a modified shipping container, of which the the tanks occupy one end. I don’t pretend to understand how it works, but it uses biological processes conducted by bacteria to break down the sewage before using a series of filters to clean the water, and by the end of the process the water is actually clean enough to just dump out onto the ground. It was interesting to see, and those who will be here when things start to freeze are excited about the promising system and the prospect of taking showers in the winter.

Also, the walk back to the Observatory in the fog was a little spooky, with the lights from the summit building just barely visible, glowing through the fog. When I got near the stage office, I had my first run-in with The Presence—the mysterious and otherworldly force or being that is said to haunt the summit. I got very lucky in that I was actually able to photograph it.


Scott Wehrwein,  Summit Intern

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