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Water Pollution

Tina Plante

January 31, 2010

Axia College/SCI-275


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Water Pollution

Water pollution refers to the changes in physical, natural, and compound surroundings of
water bodies like oceans, lakes, rivers, and groundwater that interrupt the balance of the
ecosystem. These pollutants ultimately affect humans and wildlife, and directly effects marine
life and ocean organisms. Water pollution is an endless problem that stems from many sources.
This tragedy may include a number of factors, whether it is people discarding trash in the water
or on the land near bodies of water, or from oil spillage. At hand there are many ways that
pollution can enter the water. While some ways are purposeful, some are in no way anticipated to
There are many identifiable factors that contribute to water pollution, but they can be
broken down into two main categories, point source and nonpoint source. Pollutants that are
caused through environmental changes would be a nonpoint source. An example of this would be
when rainfall picks up pollutants, on land or in the ground, and deposits them into bodies of
water. The pollution that occurs when harmful substances are emitted into a body of water is
point source pollution (Krantz & Kifferstein, n.d.). This would be the category for the pollution
caused by an oil spill. People can take small steps to prevent both categories of pollution and to
make the environment a healthier one.
Nonpoint sources of pollution can be avoidable and everyone can make a difference. The
simple steps everyone can take consist of putting trash in proper containers; lessen the amount
of pesticides and fertilizers we use on lawns and plants, check septic systems annually, and
recycle used motor oil. As seen in Figure 1, many products used can cause pollution runoff.

Figure 1.
Sources of Polluted Runoff

Farm Land Managed Commercial & Industrial Residential

Green space
Nutrients Fertilizers Fertilizers Acid Rain, automotive Fertilizers,
exhaust septic systems
Pathogens Domestic Pet and wild Malfunctioning/overloaded Malfunctioning
and wild animal waste septic systems and lagoons septic systems,
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animal waste animal waste

Sediments Erosion from Erosion from Construction sites, Construction
fields, stream unprotected roadside erosion, road sand sites, road sand,
bank erosion exposed areas erosion from
from animals lawns and
Toxin Pesticides Pesticides Industrial pollutants, Household
Contaminants automotive emissions & products,
fluids pesticides
Debris Litter, illegal Litter, illegal Litter, illegal dumping Litter, illegal
dumping dumping dumping
Thermal Removal of Shallow water Heated runoff, removal of Heated runoff,
streamside impoundments, streamline vegetation, removal of
vegetation removal of impoundments streamline
streamline vegetation,
vegetation impoundments
Protecting Our Water and Environmental Resource (POWER)

Point sources of pollution also can be avoided in some cases. This type of pollution occurs

when dangerous matter is put directly into a body of water. An example of this would be oil

spill. These spills can be in the smallest amounts but still causes major problems to marine life. Up to

150,000 gallons of water can be polluted by only one quart of oil. When one thinks about the large oil

spills that happen, just think how much water is polluted. Another cause of point source pollution that

is harder to avoid would be natural contamination. This can happen when oil seeps in through cracks

among the ocean floor. When this happens, the process of natural bio remediation starts. This is the

method of breaking down the oil over time by natural organisms and chemicals.
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Unfortunately, humans have more of a negative effect on water pollution than they do positive. When

one looks at all the causes of point source and nonpoint source pollutants, a majority of them are human

caused whether it is intentional or unintentional. For example, marine debris, this includes all the trash

thrown in bodies of water. Then there are chemical pollutants, this includes mercury, oil, and petroleum.

Some of these chemicals are released by industrial processes and power plants. Although these people are

just doing their jobs, they are contributing to the pollution in the water.

A management and sustainment plan will take several years to alleviate the problem of water

pollution. After all it did not happen overnight. This is not a problem that just one person can

solve; it will take everyone in the world. This plan is made to improve the needs of humanity,

present and future. While this plan is in place, we need to maintain environmental and ecological

reliability; after all that is what we are fighting for. First, everyone needs to understand the

health and environmental issues that water pollution can create if it is not already. This can be

done by education and laws. We need to have strict laws and higher fines for compost and fuel

dumping, have testing’s done on lakes for nutrient levels, make sure pipes and waste water’s are

not being dumped into lakes and water supplies. As seen in figure 2, there are several steps to

take to ensure water quality is safe.

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Figure 2

The Water Quality Based Approach to the CWA

We will have to take the proper steps to find the best ways to change and improve our water.

The first step will be to analyze the existing sustainability issues. To accomplish this, we

need to determine the challenges and progress issues and determine practical changes. First we

need to identify the different sources of the pollution. Next, we need to acquire strategies. This

would be something the whole community would need to be part of. By receiving

recommendations from everyone it is more likely to be successful. People tend to work harder

when it is something they suggested. Finally, develop different options to achieve the goals. We
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all know some plans are not as successful as others; for that reason we need different options to

select from. As seen in figure 3, there are several ways the water pollution is spread so we need

to take in all this information and come with a plausible solution.

Figure 3 Contributors to Water Pollution

Opposing views on the issue of water pollution should not exist. This is an issue for every

human in the world, and it can jeopardize our family’s health, marine life, and wildlife. Many

people know about the issue of water pollution but believe they can’t do anything about or don’t

want to take the time to learn how they can help. As stated by Miller, McCormick, & Dorworth,

“Ultimately, protection of the nation's water and natural resources will depend upon educating

local land use officials about the links between land use and water quality, and providing them

with ideas and tools to take action at the local level” (para. 1). Just think how much healthier
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everyone would be if everyone takes the time to learn what is going on in their water systems.

We need to learn the benefits and challenges, and learn to act on them.

Even though all human enjoy the sight of beautiful blue water, humans cause most of the

challenges to improve our water sustainability. The coast lines are where most of the challenges

lay. We constantly have seen more developers building on the shore lines that ultimately

pollute the water with chemicals and debris. We need to learn the responsible actions and take

more pride in our environment. Yes, it would be wonderful to have a house or office overlooking

the water, but at what cost. Other challenges that affect our water are over-fishing, coral

bleaching, ocean acidification, dumping human waste, and sea level rise. There are ways that we

can improve some of these challenges. There needs to be legislative control for over-fishing by

mandating sustainable fishing practices. As far as dumping human waste, there needs to be more

carefully thought out waste management plan.

The benefits of improving the water greatly outweigh the challenges. Without water pollution

the well being of marine life, wild life, and human life would greatly improve. Drinking water

would be cleaner and healthier to drink. According to Hunter, Y.(2009), “Improving water

efficiency and conservation efforts reduces the energy usage (and GHG emissions) associated

with water processing and delivery” (Water, para. 1). The common factor between all the benefits

to human life is saving money. This is a benefit we can all live with.

Clearly, the problems linked to water pollution could disrupt life in the world. The
government has passed laws to try to improve water pollution; therefore acknowledging water
pollution is a critical issue. The government alone cannot solve the whole problem, in the end it
is up to us. We need to be knowledgeable, accountable, and concerned with the issues we face
within our water. We need to educate ourselves about our local water resources and learn proper
ways to dispose harmful household waste.
As it was briefly touched on earlier, the government is trying to do their part in water
improvement. “In 1977, an amendment to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (1972), the
Clean Water Act, defined the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into bodies of
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water in the United States” (Richetto & Hocutt, 2009, para. 15). Although this was a impressive
gesture on the behalf of the government, it does not seem to be put in force. According to Bell,
M.(2008), “Even today, thousands of tons of industrial wastes are legally discharged daily into
lakes, rivers, and streams” (para. 12). We need to remember that the bodies of water reach
everyone around the globe; therefore it will take everyone around the world to help fix this
When all is said and done, we all know about pollution and we know the causes. Water
pollution is a problem for everyone in every country. Everyone in the world has to do their
part to stop the spread of water pollution and to do something to fix the problem. Next time
a glass of water is poured, know what one is drinking. The next people are that are swimming,
wonder what they are swimming in. Next time dead marine life is seen on the shore line, know
what caused it. These are hard facts to ignore; therefore everyone needs to do everything possible
to stop the problem.
Bell, M. (2008). Contaminated waterways and property valuation.
The Appraisal Journal, 76(4), 344-354.
Dorworth, L, Miller, B., & McCormick, R. (n.d.). A model for incorporating water resources
protection into local land use decisions. Protecting Our Water and Environmental Resources.
Retrieved January 08, 2010, from
Hunter, Y. (2009). The co-benefits of sustainability. Western City. Retrieved January 27,2010
Krantz, D., & Kifferstein, B. (n.d.). Water pollution and society. Retrieved January 07,2010,
Protecting Our Water and Environmental Resource. (n.d.). Nonpoint source pollution:
A threat to our waters. Retrieves January 26, 2010, from
Richetto, J. and Hocutt, L. (2009). Safeguarding revenue-generating assets in austere economic
environments: a case study of Dadeville, Alabama. Journal of the Alabama Academy of
Science, 80(3-4), 210
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