U.S. WASTEWATER TREATMENT FACTSHEET For more information on the topic of Wastewater, check out the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems' U.S. Wastewater Treatment Factsheet.

The curated collection below contains 7 videos, 3 podcasts and 2 games/activities. To access the resource, click on the image below the resource title.


Where Does It Go?

Where Does It Go?Grade Level: K-5
Duration: 3 minutes 15 seconds
Description: This video from Eastern Municipal Water District shows the path human waste takes on its journey through the sewers. Along the way, students will learn about the wastewater treatment process.


Water Pollution | Planet H2O

Water Pollution | Planet H2OGrade Level: 3-8
Duration: 2 minutes 8 seconds
Description: This video demonstration comes from Alabama Public Television, provided by PBS LearningMedia. Students will learn how pollution in groundwater can enter streams and larger bodies of water that make up a city’s water supply.


Water Solutions Collection Bernheim Forest

Water Solutions Collection Bernheim Forest Grade Level: 3-12
Duration: The videos in this collection range from 1 minute to 5 minutes and 5 seconds.
Description: This set of videos from KET Education, provided by PBS LearningMedia, shows different wastewater solutions being used at Bernheim Arboretum. Students will learn about different wastewater solutions, including a green roof, mycore mediation to stop parking lot runoff, a rain garden, and reusing wastewater in peat filtration beds.


Reduce Runoff

Reduce RunoffGrade Level: 4-12
Duration: 8 minutes 43 seconds
Description: This video from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) covers different ways of reducing runoff. Students will learn about green roofs, rain barrels, and rain gardens.


Where Does It Go?

Where Does It Go?Grade Level: 5-12
Duration: 9 minutes 41 seconds
Description: This video from LA Sanitation shows students inside a wastewater treatment facility. Students will learn the steps used to treat wastewater before it is recycled or sent out into the ocean. Students will also see how the biosolids produced during wastewater treatment are used by farmers.


Secrets of New York—The Sewers Video

Secrets of New York—The Sewers VideoGrade Level: 9-12
Duration: 35 minutes 28 seconds
Description: This documentary from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection offers an in-depth look at wastewater treatment in New York City. Students will learn about the history of NYC's sewer system and wastewater treatment. Additionally, they will have a better understanding of the steps in the wastewater treatment process.
Click HERE for a printable worksheet to accompany the documentary.


Where Does Ex-Drinking Water Go?

Where Does Ex-Drinking Water Go?Grade Level: 6-12
Duration: 8 minutes 1 second
Description: This video from PBS covers wastewater treatment facilities and the challenges of maintaining them. Additionally, students will learn what materials they should not put down the drain and about what happens to wastewater after it has been cleaned.



Poop Train

Poop TrainGrade Level: 6-12
Duration: 21 minutes 32 seconds
Description: In this episode of Radiolab for Kids, host Robert Krulwich and producer Pat Walters take listeners inside a wastewater treatment plant. Students will learn how wastewater is treated and about how New York City’s biosolids were used by Colorado farmers for 20 years as fertilizer for their crops. There is also a “Poop Quiz” found at the same link as the podcast. Note: Educators should be sure that the episode they play for their class is the version linked here, as there is foul language in the adult version.


Plants Not Pipes: A Solution to Florida’s Stormwater Pollution Problem

Plants Not Pipes: A Solution to Florida’s Stormwater Pollution ProblemGrade Level: 9-12
Duration: 10 minutes 12 seconds
Description: This podcast from Home and High Water, a podcast by Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Environmental Studies, discusses the benefits of using plants as a way to tackle the challenges of flooding and pollution from stormwater runoff. Students will learn about low impact development and the difference between hardened infrastructure and green infrastructure.


Where Does Your Poop Go?

Where Does Your Poop Go?Grade Level: 6-12
Duration: about 9 minutes
Description: In this podcast from WBEZ Chicago, students will learn the path that human waste takes through the Chicago sewer system. Note: Podcast starts at 42 seconds.

Click HERE to access the interactive animation mentioned at the end of the podcast.



Wastewater Treatment Crossword Puzzle

Wastewater Treatment Crossword Puzzle Grade Level: 3-8
Duration: 15-20 minutes
Description: This crossword puzzle from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection is a fun way for students to learn vocabulary related to the wastewater treatment process. Note: The glossary is found in the bottom right-hand corner of the puzzle.



Wastewater Treatment Activity

Wastewater Treatment Activity Grade Level: 6-12
Duration: Varies
Description: This interactive activity from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection will help students to understand the various materials that can end up in a city’s wastewater. Students will also learn about the water treatment process.