Wetskills Romania 2017 – May 5th
“This marble structure shows how innovative and open-minded the Romanian society can be. Very impressive.“
It is Friday and the teambuilding really kicks off. The program for the next two days is to go on a two day trip to see the Carpathian Mountains and the city of Sibiu. Today we will visit a wastewater treatment plant and a beautiful historic cathedral.
Our journey starts off by trying to get out of the city. For those who do not know Bucharest, traffic is a nightmare. Luckily our bus driver is a real traffic hero who is able to get us across jammed crossroads with extremely tight squeezes, in record time.
After nearly 3 hours we arrive at the Wastewater treatment plant in Pitești. The treatment process at the plant has been recently upgraded and now includes among other things denitrification and phosphorus removal. The plant operates under very strict chemical standards for treated wastewater discharge back into the river. Not only because of national and European law, but also because the city of Bucharest is located downstream which uses the water again as a drinking water source. One of the most surprizing features of the treatment facility is that it collects biogas from the waste water sludge and uses it to heat and power their machinery.
Some other facts that impressed many of us were that the plant can discharge 400 litres per second of treated wastewater and that it has a total capacity of roughly 320.000 household units. At the end of the walking tour through the plant we arrived at the water quality test lab, where we were told how they check and report on the levels of chemicals at different stages of the treatment process. The specialists are able to asses chemical levels by using tools such as mass spectrometers and gas chromatography. It was a very interesting visit to the treatment plant and it was a pleasure to see how these processes perform in Romania. However on an empty stomach one cannot continue, so it was a welcome break to eat some real Romanian food in Pitești.
The second site of the day took some time to reach and in the late afternoon we arrived at one of the most important cultural sites of the country, the Monastery of Curtea de Argeș. It consists of several churches and religious sites, but most impressive was the Cathedral. Finished in 1517, this marble of technology shows how innovative and open-minded the Romanian society can be. Constructed by the architect Neagoe Basarab, he combined his experience in Constantinople of Islamic and Persian architecture with Romanian Orthodox elements. One of the purposes of this was that if ever the Ottomans would conquer the Monastery, they would appreciate the Islamic style and would not destroy the building. Later on this proved to be a very smart idea when the Ottomans arrived. It was a treat for the eyes to be shown around by one of the high clergy and hear all the beautiful Romanian folklore.
The day ended with a warm bed and a hot shower at a little cute hotel near the Carpathian Mountains. Especially the warm shower has been something that everyone had been grateful for in the following days, but more on that later…
By Kennard Burer (Utrecht University)