Skip to main content

Sewer Science – Expanding Wastewater Knowledge to the Next Generation

Buy Article:

$17.50 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Or sign up for a free trial

Sewer Science is a comprehensive high school science laboratory that teaches students about municipal wastewater treatment using specially designed tanks and standard testing equipment. Initiated in 1998, the award winning Sewer Science program is used in numerous California school districts. This program presents a unique opportunity to present the wide variety of careers that are available in the wastewater industry. One example is to have slides about the various careers in a powerpoint presentation that wraps up the sewer science program.

Parallel with WEFTEC, WEF conducts WEFTeach, a full-day intensive teacher's workshop designed to provide information and practical hands-on applications for the classroom on the most important water quality issues. Since 2003, WEFTeach has successfully highlighted Sewer Science in Los Angeles, New Orleans, Washington D.C., and Forth Worth Texas.

Science educators assert a need to bolster hands-on learning experiences that link a range of subject areas while focusing on a common theme. There is also a need for students to link science and technology to societal impacts and issues. Creating such interdisciplinary curricula is often quite challenging, given the more traditional educational background of many teachers. Meanwhile, many wastewater treatment agencies and sanitary districts are looking for opportunities to augment their elementary and middle school outreach programs with new programs aimed at high school students. "Sewer Science" addresses the curriculum challenges of hands-on interdisciplinary learning while providing a unique high school outreach program for the wastewater industry.

The lab is a hands-on wastewater treatment laboratory that was developed in 1998 through a collaboration of San Jose State University, the City of Palo Alto, and 13 high school science teachers from seven high schools. Throughout the week-long laboratory, students receive a foundation in municipal wastewater treatment using specially designed tanks and standard analytical equipment. Students prepare a simulated wastewater using food and household products. Then they spend a week manipulating Plexiglas models of treatment operations and analyzing the wastewater as it is treated. The students realistically simulate primary sedimentation, biological treatment followed by secondary sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection. During the biological treatment phase, activated sludge from the local wastewater treatment plant is added to the aeration tanks.

Before and after each treatment step, the students make visual observations and measure pH, turbidity, ammonia, and chemical oxygen demand. At the lab conclusion, the students plot their data and compare their final results to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) effluent standards.

Developed to be suitable for and flexible to the needs of grades 9 through 12, the curriculum currently meets numerous national and California science education guidelines, and is readily adapted to other State standards. Sewer Science has received several awards including the 2002 Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA) Public Education Award, and the 2002 Water Environment Federation Public Education Award.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Data/Media
No Metrics

Keywords: HANDS-ON-LEARNING; LABORATORY; OUTREACH PROGRAM; PUBLIC EDUCATION; SEWER SCIENCE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-10-01

More about this publication?
  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

    A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation includes access to most papers presented at the annual WEF Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) and other conferences held since 2000. Subscription access begins 12 months after the event and is valid for 12 months from month of purchase. A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is included in Water Environment Federation (WEF) membership.

    WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access. Access begins 12 months after the conference or event
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • About WEF Proceedings
  • WEFTEC Conference Information
  • Learn about the many other WEF member benefits and join today
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more