PIQUA — Representatives from the National Weather Service visited the Piqua Wastewater Treatment Plant on Tuesday morning to present them with a Cooperative Weather Observer institutional award.
The plant, located at 121 Bridge St., has been providing weather observations to the National Weather Service for over 75 years.
“Every day, we know the high and the low temperature, and we know how much it rained in a 24-hour day,” Wastewater Treatment Plant Superintendent Chris Melvin said.
The plant has a solar-powered weather station with a rain gauge to determine the precipitation during rain or snow events. The plant also has a thermometer with a protective beehive so they can record the temperature highs and lows for each day.
The plant then supplies that data to the National Weather Service on a monthly basis.
“Cooperative Weather Observers like you serve a critical role by contributing to our knowledge and understanding of the local, national, and global climate,” Meteorologist Ashley Novak of the National Weather Service said. “Your observations prove your deep level of commitment to public service and are a lasting and important contribution to the National Weather Service, research, and private sector communities. More specifically, in addition to daily National Weather Service operations, they have helped us to understand and solve problems related to climate change, commerce, transportation, and agriculture.”
The plant is one of 70 weather observers in Ohio for the National Weather Service, according to Observing Program Leader James Gibson with the National Weather Service. Out of those 70 observers, the plant is one of 23 with a weather station that has a rain gauge.
Melvin explained how the weather station helps them compare the normal amount of wastewater that they take in with the amount of inflow they have during storms. In addition to the amount of water that the Water Treatment Plant treats, the Wastewater Treatment Plant also takes on rain water during storms and other rain events.
In 2011, the city had its wettest year on record with 63 inches of precipitation, Melvin said. This knowledge helped the plant make plans leading up to the construction of the plant renovations to know how much water they could need to accommodate during heavy rain events.
For comparison, Ohio averages 37.57 inches of precipitation annually based on the 50-year period 1931-80, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
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