Everyone loves pure, clean, mountain spring water, except, of course, me. Untreated mountain spring water can contain contaminants such as oil, lead, zinc, dirt, lead, salmon eggs, sloughed reptile skin, badger feces and campers refuse. I prefer my H20 directly from the Vanity Fairland Water Treatment Facility. The plant lies south of our Laboratory, about four miles from the interstate 10. The water that comes out of our tap is the most delicious I’ve ever showered in, and it tastes pretty good, too.
The facility uses a three step process that includes primary treatment, secondary treatment and tertiary treatment, I won't get into detail, it's a very scientific process that works, and that's all that matters. Before Vanity bought out State Water and took over operations, the plant was a mess. They were still using ponds and lagoons or chemically treating the water (gross).
There were four standing ponds, two were still operating, one was continually under some form of maintenance, and the last was nearly empty, stagnant, and smelled like a defrosted homunculus. These ponds have been drained, excavated, and repurposed as an employee recreational center with a basketball court and an area to fly radio controlled flying machines. Beautiful.
I’ve become friends with plant manager Becky Williams; a homely woman in her late forties, divorced with two sons in their teens, and a tendency to ask questions to which she already knows the answers. Despite all of this, she is an excellent facilitator. On several occasions I’ve been given tours of the plant, each one at the expense of her time and money. We've discussed primary treatment, sludge control, secondary treatment, vermicom post, aeration, drying beds, methane, and many other essential steps for producing delicious water for showering, car washing, pools and drinking.
I've kept a small secret from Becky, and I feel a tad guilty, but not enough to tell her about it. She is unaware that we’re skimming water from the facility. Ronnie and I repaired and activated an old pump system and diverted a minor amount of runoff from the plant to our lab. The cost to them is quite insignificant; somewhere in the range of forty to sixty thousand dollars per quarter, depending on whether or not we need to fill our two hundred and seventy thousand gallon elevated water tank. The cost could easily quadruple if that is what’s necessary.
I’m positive Becky is receiving small payoffs from local politicians to look the other way every now and again. She hasn’t said this outright, but hinted as much. She uses this money for her eldest boy’s truck payment, as well as a variety of extras. So if our arrangement should ever be discovered, we have a fair amount of leverage to keep things as they currently stand. We also siphon our electricity from the plant, a minimal amount, I assure you; except during the Fall and Winter months…and much of spring, when an abundance of electrical requirements frequently crop up.
We understand each other, and we receive additional benefits from our arrangement; like an ample supply of food and equipment whenever we like. In exchange, she gets quality company and stimulating conversation from time to time, unless I'm not feeling very talkative, which isn't too much of a problem since she's quite capable of talking enough for the both of us. I'm supposed to have drinks by the drying beds with her tomorrow afternoon, but the idea of listening to her go on about her pottery course leaves me exhausted. I may send Ronnie, she hates him.
I put up with it because her water is outstanding, It's free, and she can't do a thing about it.