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29 terms

Water and Soil Pollution

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Water Pollution
consists of any physical or chemical change in water that adversely affects the health of humans and other organisms
Sewage
the release of wastewater from drains or sewers and includes human waste, soaps, and detergents
Enrichment
the fertilization of a body of water caused by the presence of high levels of plant and algal nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphorus)
Cellular Respiration
the degradation process, that requires the presence of oxygen, where sewage and other organic materials are decomposed into carbon dioxide, water and other inoffensive materials by the action of microorganisms
Biochemical(biological) Oxygen Demand (BOD)
the amount of oxygen needed by microorganisms to decompose the wastes into carbon dioxide, water, and minerals. High levels of this occur when the excessive numbers of algae die and are decomposed by bacteria
Disease-Causing Agents
infectious organisms that cause diseases and come from the wastes of infected individuals
Fecal Coliform Test
Performed to test for the presence of E. coli in water; a small sample of water is passed through a filter to trap all bacteria
Pathogens
disease-causing agents in water
Bacterial Source Tracking (BST)
a field of science that attempts to make the proper identification of the source of contamination for fecal coliform bacteria
Sediment pollution
consists of excessive amounts of suspended soil particles that eventually settle out and accumulate on the bottom of a body of water
Inorganic plant and algal nutrients
chemicals such as nitrogen and phosphorous that stimulate the growth of plants and algae, they are essential for the normal functioning of healthy ecosystems but are harmful in larger concentrations
Organic Compounds
chemicals that contain carbon atoms. Most of them that are found in water are synthetic chemicals that are produced bye human activities
Inorganic Chemicals
contaminants that do not easily degrade and contain elements other than carbon (e.g. acids, salts and heavy metals)
Radioactive Substances
contain atoms of unstable isotopes that spontaneously emit radiation. Radioactive substances can get into water from several sources, including the mining and processing of radioactive minerals (such as uranium and thorium)
Thermal Pollution
Occurs when heated water produced during certain industrial processes
Oligotrophic
unenriched, minimal levels of nutrients in lakes, estuaries, and slow-flowing streams
Eutrophication
the enrichment of a lake, estuary, or slow-flowing stream by inorganic plant and algal nutrients (such as phosphorus)
Artificial (Cultural) Eutrophication
fast eutrophication accelerated by human activities
Point source pollution
is discharged into the environment through pipes, sewers, or ditches from specific sites such as factories or sewage treatment plant. It is relatively easy to control
Nonpoint Source Pollution (Polluted runoff)
caused by land pollutants that enter bodies of water over large areas rather than at a single point; it occurs when precipitation moves over and through the soil, picking up and carrying away pollutants that eventually are deposited into bodies of water
Reservoirs
artificial lakes that are produced by building a dam across a river or stream and allow water to be accumulated and stored when there is an adequate supply for use during periods of drought.
Primary Treatment
removes suspended and floating particles, such as sand and silt, by mechanical processes (such as screening and gravitational settling)
Primary Sludge
the solid material that settles out during Primary Treatment
Secondary Treatment
uses microorganisms to decompose the suspended organic material in wastewater
Secondary Sludge
formed by the particles and microorganisms that are allowed to settle out after several hours (after secondary treatment)
Tertiary Treatment
Advanced wastewater treatment methods that include a variety of biological, chemical and physical processes.
Ocean Dumping Ban Act
Passed by the U.S. Congress in 1988, it barred ocean dumping of sludge and industrial waste
Safe Drinking Water Act
Passed by the U.S. Congress in 1974, it set uniform federal standards for drinking water in order to guarantee safe public water supplies throughout the U.S.
Maximum Contaminant Level
the maximum permissible amount of any water pollutant that might adversely affect human health