Editor’s note: This post about our first Em4 in California was written by Jim King, Production Director at Little River.
Back in 2016, we sold an Em4 with custom sanitation and safety features to South Sutter Charter School in California, with the promise to deliver once their new facility was ready. In the Spring of 2020, they finally broke ground and by August they were near enough to completion to receive the river model. This was a rare opportunity to actually work with the architects and have the space configured specifically for our largest model. Having the water supply lines, floor drains and electricity in the most convenient spots was quite a luxury!
Brandy Anderson, head of the South Sutter schools, arranged for the original purchase. With a PhD in geology, Brandy knew the value of an Emriver model for teaching complex geomorphological processes in a hands-on manner. With his expertise and desire to collaborate with others in the area, we’re sure the model will be put to good use. South Sutter is a K-12 Public Charter School that offers individualized education for students, and the Learning Center provides curricula and learning resources to seven counties around the Sacramento area. The Em4 is available in their library, and is always accessible to visitors and partner schools.
Our Em4 models have typically gone to labs at universities. Knowing this model would be used by younger scientists, we installed additional guards to keep small hands away from moving mechanical parts. To minimize the need for water changeovers in arid California, we built a supplemental circulation loop to keep the water sanitary for longer periods. With the guidance of our friend and exhibit designer, Chris Krumm from TropoStudio in St. Paul, we put together an automated circulation system including a UV sanitizer and carbon filtration, as well as protocols for manual pH and bromine monitoring and adjusting. Mason Parrone’, our electronics expert, adapted our K500 flow controller to monitor flow, pressure and water levels in the supplemental loop. All of it came together in a tidy little cabinet to fit under the upstream end of our Em4.
We look forward to hearing about young researchers working with the first Em4 in California!
A big thanks to John Wilberger, the Director of Facilities at South Sutter, who made sure we could get everything where it needed to be.