Sewer Science Unit Smells Like Learning


Jacob Ngai, Staff Writer

Central Contra Costa Sanitary District employees gave freshmen and sophomore biology students a hands-on perspective of how the Bay Area’s water is cleaned and filtered.

Biologists explained the specifics of what happens after wastewater is poured or flushed down the drain. Katherine White and Olivia Owre-Bell, educators from CCCSD, facilitated the week-long lab.

During the sessions, the classes created samples of waste water and tried to purify it. The students tested pH, Ammonia Concentration, Turbidity, and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) to determine the purity of the water.

Most  enjoyed this experience despite the smell of waste. Freshman Clarina He said, “The sewer science session in my bio class was kind of gross but really interesting.” Freshman Aaron Stromberg liked it because it was “pretty self-explanitory.” He said, “it shed light on the sewer situation that I hadn’t ever thought about before.” He learned what was necessary to keep the sewers and city clean.

The point of having these labs is to educate teens about the “importance of water conservation and knowing where the water goes, how all the water we use goes back like a big water cycle,” said White.

“I basically learned what materials are okay to put down the drain and what materials that should be brought to a proper treatment plant, my favorite activity was cleaning out the tanks and getting extra credit for it,” said Freshman Jack Eisner.