Wastewater Treatment for Kids

Teaching youth about water resources

The water that people use in their homes and businesses comes from nature and must be cleaned up to be returned to nature so it can be used again. This is an important part of our water cycle.

Effective wastewater (sewage) treatment is a critical service, provided by the Met Council and many partners, that protects the environment and protects public health.

Wastewater Treatment for Kids provides a simplified look at wastewater treatment by taking you on a tour of the process at the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant in Saint Paul. Come along with our water guides Ardea, Anati, and Anura to learn more about our water resources in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro region.

You’ll learn about:

  • The water cycle
  • How we use water from the environment
  • How communities and the Met Council collect wastewater from your home, school, or work
  • How the Met Council’s largest wastewater treatment plant, the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant, cleans that water so it's safe to return to the environment!

Our video and presentation — plus some additional materials about the water cycle, watersheds and more — will introduce you to the fascinating, but often invisible, work of wastewater treatment. This work is part of the water resource management that keeps our communities safe and allows them to grow.

Learning at your own pace: download our presentation

A still from the Wastewater Treatment for Kids program that says 'We love water'Part 1: The Water Cycle and How We Get Clean Water (25 page PDF)

The water cycle is how water falls to the ground as rain or snow, moves into our groundwater or lakes and streams, and evaporates and condenses into clouds to fall as rain or snow again. We tap into that cycle to get the water we use for drinking, cleaning, and other uses.

Part 2: How Wastewater Gets Clean Again (21 page PDF)

Once we use water for drinking, cleaning, bathing, and other things, we want to return that water back to the environment, but it has gotten dirty. Wastewater treatment is the process we use to clean used water from our community and return it to the environment so it can be used by plants and animals and even people again!

Wastewater Treatment for Kids classroom activities

Related Resources: Water Conservation Toolbox

Photo of learners at a water event.The Water Conservation Toolbox for Learners has many useful resources for teachers, and kid-friendly education materials and games.