The Rock River Water Reclamation District (RRWRD) in Rockford, IL uses this interactive plant layout model to explain to school groups, customers and the public the sequential steps in processing solid and liquid waste as well as generating energy as a by-product of that process.
The model has many advantages. The viewer can grasp the overall picture in one viewing. The large plant site is reduced to a 6 X 16 foot model (the scale is 1:96). A well designed plant layout model like this one can orient the viewer from any angle and help them draw mental connections among all aspects of the process.
Rather than taking a plant tour of the site with a group, which takes much longer, RRWRD personnel can use the model to explain the various processes to the group and answer questions.
Real water runs through the Rock River shown in the foreground, as well as through four water processing tanks. The aeration tank bubbles. There is also real water in the two Gravity Thickening Tanks. Real water helps to make the model realistic.
A half inch thick clear acrylic barrier on three sides helps to protect the model. Overhead lights that highlight the model are activated by a sensor when anyone approaches the model. The "rocks" on the right above are the back side of a large aquarium stocked with native Illinois fish. "Rocks" arching above over part of the model support a real waterfall that drops into the aquarium.
The sequential path of each of three processes (liquid, solids, and energy) is clearly shown with chase lights and with colored lines on the control board. The buildings and tanks each have a light come on when their labeled button on the control panel is pressed. Most of the buildings and tanks have an identifying label next to them. All this makes the model useful at any time of the day.
The interactive control board highlights the three sequential processes with over 600 blue (liquid), yellow (solid) or red (energy) chase lights. There are also buttons to light up the individual tanks or buildings. The energy (red chase lights) below is created from the methane gas by-product of the waste processing.
Individual buildings and tanks each have a label and a separate light as shown below.
To reinforce the explanation of the water treatment process the RRWRD website has a "just for kids" section that explains what happens to a drop of water.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss plant layout or process models, site models, topographic models or other projects contact us at Model Builders, Inc. 773-586-6500 or firstname.lastname@example.org .