Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Commercial Point Sludge Lagoon Issue: Connecting Science Class to Real Life

A local Pickaway County farmer wants to create a 3-acre, clay-lined, sludge lagoon on his property within a mile of several housing developments and two schools.  Neighbors met at the local middle school last night to voice their concerns about this project.

This relates to our seventh grade science curriculum in several ways:

  • Nitrogen Cycle - farmers use the waste of humans and animals to enrich their farmland by spraying the composted waste onto their crops to increase yields.
  • Food Web - the waste in the sludge lagoon is decomposing with the help of bacteria; however, some of the waste will still be locked up into an unusable form for longer than it should by being concentrated in one area.
  • Matter - How would you classify the substance of human sludge, animal waste, and partially digested foods?  Would this be a pure or unpure substance?  If it's unpure, what kind of mixture would this be - heterogeneous or homogeneous?
  • Periodic Table - The gases that would be released through the decomposition of the matter include elements that will be studied through the periodic table.  The gases include, for example, hydrogen sulfide (H2S), methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2), and ammonia (NH3).
  • Water Cycle and Watersheds: How would a leaking sludge lagoon affect the water table in this community?  Which watershed would a flooding sewage lagoon affect in Central Ohio?
What are the pros and cons of creating a sewage lagoon? Read the following articles to form your own opinion!

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