Bugs Lab


Bugs Lab
What Is The Role Of Biology In Cleaning Our Dirty Water?

Phenomenon & Guiding Question

Our dirty water goes down the drain. What happens to our dirty water after it goes down the drain?

What Students Will Do

In this multi-day laboratory, students will explore the role of biology in cleaning our wastewater. Using a Benedicts Test over the course of several days, students will analyze our wastewater for the presence (and reduction) of simple sugars in our samples.

Using microscopes, students will explore the micro-community of our activated sludge and learn about the different forms of Protozoa and Metazoa found in our wastewater.

This lab is based upon our secondary treatment processes. If you ask any wastewater Operator or Engineer, they will gladly tell you that the real workhorses of our system – the ones who actually turn millions of gallons of dirty water back into clean water again – are our bugs. 

What Students Will Figure Out

  • That our community of bugs represent a diverse, ecological micro-community.
  • That we can measure our bugs ability to clean our wastewater using simple chemical reagents.
  • That our bugs do the “dirty work” of removing solids in suspension from our wastewater.

Grade Level

Designed for middle or high school life and environmental science courses. Relevant for lots of different curriculum.

Want To Learn More?

Please contact Ben Lavender at blavender@centralsan.org or (925) 335-7723 to bring this exciting program to your classroom!