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Treatment Ponds and Lagoons

keywords:Aerobic ponds, Anaerobic ponds, Facultative pond, Series ponds, Parallel ponds, Microbiological factors, Bacteria, Algae, Protozoa, Rotifers, Crustaceans; Lesson Plan Grade Level: Middle School; Total Time Required: Four periods; Setting: The introduction of the terms and general overview of how a lagoon works will be presented in the regular classroom setting. The following day the class will go to the computer lab to find examples of lagoons on the net and learn more about the microbiological factors that break down waste so that the water from the system can be safe to discharge into a stream or river without adversely affecting the environment. The lesson will conclude with a visit to a local lagoon system to observe how it operates and go over the tests performed on the discharge to ensure it will not negatively impact the environment.

Subjects covered: Science

Topics covered:  The lesson will show one method used by small rural communities to effectively and economically treat raw sewage.

Goals for the lesson 

Students will learn how important it is to protect our fresh water supply from pollution that is added to our streams as they wind through the rural areas of Pa.  They will see how microbiological factors over time will break down waste to the point where it can be safely discharged into our streams.

Materials/resources needed:

A.    An overhead projector to introduce the and explain the new terminology
B.    Access to a computer lab to find examples of lagoons and microbiological animals
C.    A local lagoon that the class can visit.
D.    Waste-water operators willing to spend a few minutes to go over how the system operates.

State Standards Addressed:
    4.1 Watersheds and wetlands (impacts of watersheds and wetlands)
    4.2 Renewable and nonrenewable resources (management)
    4.8 Humans and the environment (Human impact)
    4.9 Environmental laws and regulations (Environmental laws and their impact)

Methods

A.    The teacher will introduce the lesson by asking the class if anyone knows what a treatment pond/lagoon is and why it is important.
B.    If anyone knows where a system is or if they know anyone who uses one they could describe what it looks like.
C.    The teacher would use a projector to let the class see what a functioning lagoon looks like.
D.    The teacher will stress the importance of a clean water supply for the safety of the individuals in our community and the world.
E.    The teacher will project the new terms on a screen and the class will try to explain each term and come up with a collective definition under the guidance of the classroom teacher.
F.    The lesson will continue with a discussion on the three types of lagoons and what the advantages are for each one.
G.    They will then discuss how the various microbiological elements work to break down the waste so that it is safe to discharge into the environment.
H.    On the second day the class will report to the computer lab to work in pairs to find out more about lagoon systems.
I.    All students will find and cite on web site showing a lagoon system.
J.    The class will them be divided up and each group assigned an organism to look up.  (algae, flagellates, ciliates, rotifers, crustaceans and bacteria)
K.    Each group will print one picture and come up with five facts on their organism.
L.    The following day the class will get into a circle and each group will discuss their findings from the following day.
M.    To wrap up the lesson the class could visit a local treatment lagoon/pond system to see the system in operation.
N.    If that is not feasible it may be possible to get a plant operator to join the class and discuss how effective a lagoon is in treating sewage.

Evaluation

The class will be evaluated through the use of a rubric.
A.    10 points for having the vocabulary in their notebook
B.    10 points for having a lagoon photo cited
C.    10 points for having a photo of an organism
D.    10 points for having five facts on their organism
E.    10 points for participating in the discussion

Literature/Sources Cited

In preparing for the lesson the instructor read and reviewed information from Module 19: Treatment Ponds and Lagoons by the Bureau of Water and Wastewater Management, Department of Environmental Protection Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators Training Manuel which  was distributed by the Pennsylvania Water Association.

Author

Bob Braymer, PENNCREST School District

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Definitions

Aerobic ponds - contain dissolved oxygen throughout the entire depth of the pond and treatment needs are met through aerobic bacteria and algae.
Anaerobic ponds - function without the use of dissolved oxygen and treatment is accomplished by anaerobic bacteria.
Facultative pond - contains an aerobic upper level and an anaerobic lower level.
Series ponds - ponds which are connected with one pond following the next.
Parallel ponds - ponds which operate side by side with the ability to take one or more out of service.
Microbiological factors - living organisms that treat organic waste.
Bacteria - simple single-celled organisms which feed on organic waste.
Algae - microscopic plants which float or are suspended in water and can degrade organic substances into simpler compounds.
Protozoa - single celled animals having complex digestive systems that consume organic matter.
Rotifers - multi-celled organisms which filter organic waste to be used as food.  Their presence indicates a healthy, efficient system.
Crustaceans - multi-celled organisms with shell coverings that have the ability to move about.