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We use water every day, but we often don't think about it. This project sought to improve the understanding of our local water system and explore these questions:

  • Where does our water come from?
  • How and where is it cleaned so we can use it?
  • How does it get to our houses, schools, businesses, and restaurants?
  • Where does it go once it leaves?
  • What else does water do for our community and how can we protect it?

The Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility (IAWWTF) is located right next to the Ithaca Farmers Market. This facility can treat up to 13.1 million gallons of wastewater every day, collecting and treating used water from homes and businesses before sending it back into Cayuga Lake. 

The building pictured below is an access point for IAWWTF located within the Farmers Market.  This site focuses on the connections between community residents and our water system. The treatment facility serves a critical role in human and environmental health - which is itself a combination of human resources, engineering, chemistry, and biology - all working together!

   The IAWWTF access building, located within the Ithaca Farmers Market


Aerial view of the wastewater treatment facility & Farmers Market. The arrow points to the access building.

In partnership with Ithaca Murals, local artist Norma Gutierrez created a four-panel mural for this site. The mural depicts our local, cyclical water system. It all starts with the rivers leading into Cayuga Lake, a land originally cultivated by the Cayuga Nation. Next, the mural then shows the water flowing into a system of pipes, where it is treated and cleaned for drinking water purposes.


              Norma Gutierrez: Artist                                Caleb Thomas: Ithaca Murals

This water then travels into the many homes and businesses before leaving as wastewater. Gravity pulls the water through over 60 miles of pipes before arriving at IAWWTF, where it is treated before returning to Cayuga Lake.

 Mural in progress



         Completed mural