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Core Case Study: Using Nature to Purify Sewage Ecological wastewater purification by a living machine. o Uses the sun and a series of tanks containing plants, snails, zooplankton, crayfish, and fish (that can be eaten or sold for bait). WATER POLLUTION: SOURCES, TYPES, AND EFFECTS Water pollution is any chemical, biological, or physical change in water quality that has a harmful effect on living organisms or makes water unsuitable for desired uses. o Point source: specific location (drain pipes, ditches, sewer lines). o Nonpoint source: cannot be traced to a single site of discharge (atmospheric deposition, agricultural / industrial / residential runoff) Leading Sources of Water Pollution Agriculture – leading cause of water pollution o Surface runoff carries Soil sediment Excess fertilizers Excess pesticides Leading Sources of Water Pollution Industrial – processes create large amounts o Inorganic Wastes Acids Heavy metals Fertilizers o Organic Wastes Pesticides Gasoline Motor oil Food processing wastes PCBs VOCs (volatile organic compounds) Leading Sources of Water Pollution Mining practices and exposure of large areas of earth’s surface creates runoff of o Sulfuric acid o Arsenic o Cyanide (used to extract gold) o Heavy metals
Case Study: India’s Ganges River: Religion. clearer water = more photosynthesis = more phytoplankton and vegetation Water Quality Testing Techniques Chemical Water Quality Tests o pH – determines acidity or alkalinity levels. oxygen-demanding wastes and heat in a stream. Case Study: India’s Ganges River: Religion. Poverty. Water Quality Testing Techniques Physical Water Quality Test o Temperature – impacts solubility of oxygen and range tolerance of organisms. o Hindu believe in cremating the dead to free the soul and throwing the ashes in the holy Ganges. or carry out religious ceremonies in the highly polluted Ganges River. Increased bacterial and viral contamination o Biological Assessment – organisms can be used to indicate the health of an ecosystem depending on how sensitive they are. cultural traditions. Higher levels absorb heavy metals and acts a pH buffer Water Quality Testing Techniques Biological Water Quality Tests o Fecal Coliform – determines contamination of sewage. more than 1 million Hindus in India bathe. low temps = more oxygen o River/Stream Flow Velocity – impact the ability of oxygen to diffuse into water. Poverty. The presence or absence can indicate presence of water pollution Water Pollution Problems in Streams Dilution and decay of degradable. and Health Religious beliefs. Most organisms survive between 6 and 9 o Dissolved Oxygen – many aerobic organisms are stressed below 5ppm. drink from. fast rivers = more oxygen o Turbidity – measures cloudiness of water. o Very little of the sewage is treated. . sewage and septic tank leaks o Hardness – the presence of common metal cations magnesium (Mg2+) and calcium (Ca2+). poverty. Can indicate the presence of fertilizer or feedlot runoff. oxygen demanding wastes or thermal pollution Water Quality Testing Techniques Chemical Water Quality Tests o Nitrates/Nitrites and Phosphates – nutrients that can cause cultural eutrophication. Low values can indicate the presence of excess fertilizers. and Health Daily. Some are too poor to afford the wood to fully cremate. and a large population interact to cause severe pollution of the Ganges River in India. Decomposing bodies promote disease and depletes DO.
S. Arsenic contamination leads to cancers of the skin. POLLUTION OF FRESHWATER LAKES Dilution of pollutants in lakes is less effective than in most streams because most lake water is not mixed well and has little flow. nitrate is converted into nitrite and other organic compounds that have been linked to cancer In infants. POLLUTION OF GROUNDWATER It can take hundreds to thousands of years for contaminated groundwater to cleanse itself due to o Slow flow rate (1ft/day) o Cold temperatures o Low populations of decomposing bacteria o Lower concentrations of oxygen Case Study: Arsenic in Groundwater . o 85% of large lakes near major population centers in the U. Once in the body. have some degree of cultural eutrophication. groundwater can be contaminated by nitrate ions from fertilizers. mostly from runoff of plant nutrients from the surrounding land. bladder and lungs Case Study: Nitrate Ions (NO3-) in Groundwater In rural areas. POLLUTION OF GROUNDWATER Groundwater can become contaminated with a variety of chemicals because it cannot effectively cleanse itself and dilute and disperse pollutants.a Natural Threat Toxic Arsenic (As) can naturally occur at high levels in soil and rocks. o The drinking water for about half of the U. it can limit the blood’s ability to carry oxygen and cause death. which decrease DO and kill some aquatic species. Cultural Eutrophication Eutrophication: the natural nutrient enrichment of a shallow lake. Cultural eutrophication: human activities accelerate the input of plant nutrients (mostly nitrate. Various human activities can overload lakes with plant nutrients.and phosphate-containing effluents) to a lake. o Low flow makes them susceptible to runoff.S. estuary or slow moving stream. Drilling into aquifers can release As into drinking water supplies. population and 95% of those in rural areas comes from groundwater. Called blue baby syndrome . o Lakes and reservoirs are often stratified and undergo little mixing.
Case Study: MTBE in Groundwater Gasoline additive used in the US – MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) Contaminated groundwater from leaky gasoline tanks Suspected carcinogen Was phased out by is still found in groundwater supplies OCEAN POLLUTION Oceans. if they are not overloaded. OCEAN POLLUTION Harmful algal blooms (HAB) are caused by explosive growth of harmful algae from sewage and agricultural runoff.9 million barrels spilled from a well blowout o Took 5 months to cap the well . o About 40% of the world’s population lives near on or near the coast. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in oil immediately kill many larval forms of ocean organisms Oil reduces buoyancy and insulation in marine mammals and sea birds causing death from loss of body heat or drowning Case Studies Ocean Oil Accidents Exxon Valdez – 1989 released an enormous amount of oil in the ocean near Alaska’s Prince William Sound o To this day toxic oil patches still are found in the Sound BP Oil Blow out. When the HAB die bacteria moves in and uses up the oxygen causing hypoxia Case Study: Oxygen Depletion in the Northern Gulf of Mexico A large zone of oxygen-depleted water forms for half of the year in the Gulf of Mexico as a result of HAB. can disperse and break down large quantities of degradable pollutants. Pollution of coastal waters near heavily populated areas is a serious problem. o The EPA has classified 4 of 5 estuaries as threatened or impaired.April 2010 considered worst oil spill in history o 4. This is due to the runoff of sewage and agricultural waste from the Mississippi Basin Case Study: The Chesapeake Bay – An Estuary in Trouble Pollutants from six states contaminate the shallow estuary Pollutants such as phosphates and nitrates have led to low oxygen conditions causing the decline of commercially and ecologically valuable species OCEAN OIL POLLUTION Most ocean oil pollution comes from urban and industrial runoff on land.
Reducing Water Pollution through Sewage Treatment Use separate networks of sewage and storm drain to prevent overflow during storms Sludge from sewage treatment facilities needs to be treated for harmful bacteria.primarily deals in regulating point-source pollution from municipal sewage facilities and industries and financing wastewater treatment systems However – in 2006 EPA found 45% of US lakes and 40% of streams are still unfit for fishing and swimming . Reducing Water Pollution through Sewage Treatment Raw sewage reaching a municipal sewage treatment plant typically undergoes: o Primary sewage treatment: a physical process that uses screens and a grit tank to remove large floating objects and allows settling. Water is chlorinated to remove coloration and to kill diseasecarrying bacteria and some viruses (disinfect). PREVENTING AND REDUCING SURFACE WATER POLLUTION The key to reducing nonpoint pollution – most of it from agriculture – is to prevent it from reaching bodies of water. oxygen demanding organic wastes Reducing Water Pollution through Sewage Treatment Advanced or tertiary sewage treatment: o Uses series of chemical and physical processes to remove specific pollutants left (especially nitrates and phosphates). Reducing Water Pollution through Sewage Treatment Septic tanks and various levels of sewage treatment can reduce point-source water pollution. toxic metals and organic chemicals before it is applied as fertilizer Require industries and businesses to remove toxic and hazardous wastes before it reaches municipal sewage treatment plants Increase use of natural and artificial wetlands to treat sewage Septic tanks should include a large drainage field where soil and bacteria can filter and decompose biodegradable materials Water Quality Legislation Clean Water Act. flood zones. o Secondary sewage treatment: a biological process in which aerobic bacteria remove as much as 90% of dissolved and biodegradable. o Farmers can reduce runoff by planting buffers and locating feedlots away from steeply sloped land. and surface water.
each year would fuel 100. Water Quality Legislation Water Quality Act – amendment to Clean Water Act to encourage the separation of storm water and sewer water lines US Safe Drinking Water Act – Requires EPA to set standards fo maximum containment levels for water pollutants that have a negative impact on humans Is Bottled Water the Answer? Some bottled water is not as pure as tap water and costs much more. very few bottled water companies disclose where the water came from. .4 million metric tons of plastic bottles are thrown away. Arrowhead C. The oil used to produce plastic bottles in the U. Crystal Geyser F. o In a 2011 scorecard by the Environmental Working Group only filtered tap water got an A.S.000 cars. how it was treated or if water testing was done and if it found anything (Dasani D. Fossil fuels are used to make plastic bottles. Fuji C) 1. Aquafina D.
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