48 terms

APES Chapter 14

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Wastewater
Water produced by livestock operations and human activities, including human sewage from toilets and gray water from bathing and washing of clothes and dishes.
Issues w/ Wastewater
1) naturally undergoes decomposition by bacteria, which creates a large demand for oxygen in the water
2) nutrients released from wastewater decomposition makes water more fertile
3) wastewater can carry a wide variety of disease causing organisms
Point Source
A distinct location from which pollution is directly produced.
Nonpoint Source
A diffuse area that produces pollution

-challenging to control pollution from non point sources because they're negative externalities
Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)
The amount of oxygen a qty of water uses over a period of time at specific temperatures

-lower BOD = less polluted
-higher BOD = more polluted
Dead Zone
An area with extremely low oxygen concentration and very little life in a body of water
Eutrophication
A phenomenon in which a body of water becomes rich in nutrients

-result of the decomposition of wastewater
-excess of nitrogen and phosphorous in the water
-causes algal blooms
-eventually leads to dead zones
Cultural Eutrophication
An increase in fertility in a body of water, the result of anthropogenic inputs of nutrients
Indicator Species
A species that indicates whether or not disease-causing pathogens are likely to be present
Fecal coliform bacteria
A group of generally harmless microorganisms in human intestines that can serve as an indicator species for potentially harmful microorganisms associated with contaminated sewage.

ex: fecal coliform bacteria - E. coli

E. coli is found in human intestines, so it is a good indicator that human waste has entered the water
Septic System
A relatively small & simple sewage treatment system, made up of a septic tank and a leach field, often used for homes in rural areas
Septic Tank
A large container that receives wastewater from a house as part of a septic system

-common in rural areas
-does not require electricity
-sludge must be pumped out of system and taken to a sewage treatment plant
Sludge
Solid waste material from wastewater
Septage
A layer of fairly clear water found in the middle of a septic tank

-contains large qty's of bacteria, pathogens, and inorganic nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous
Leach Field
A component of a septic system, made up of underground pipes laid out below the surface of the ground

-pipes have small holes for the water to slowly seep out into soil
Sewage Treatment Plants
-for more developed areas

-Primary Treatment
-Secondary Treatment
Issues with Sewage Treatment Plants
-heavy rain overwhelms sewage treatment plants, which then pumps vast amounts of water directly into adjacent bodies of water
Manure Lagoon
A human-made pond lined with rubber built to handle large quantities of manure produced by livestock
Lead
CAUSES:
-lead lined pipes
-brass fittings
-solder

EFFECTS:
-damage the brain, nervous system, kidneys
Arsenic
CAUSES:
-mining breaks up arsenic in rocks
-wood preservatives

EFFECTS:
-skin, lung, kidney & bladder cancer

SOLUTIONS:
-can be filtered out of water through fine membrane filtration, distillation, and reverse osmosis
Mercury
CAUSES:
-burning coal
-incineration of garbage, med supplies, and hazardous waste
-manufacturing cement

EFFECTS:
-skin, lung, kidney & bladder cancer

SOLUTIONS:
-can be filtered out of water through fine membrane filtration, distillation, and reverse osmosis
Mercury vs. Methylmercury
-mercury (Hg) is not harmful
-bacteria in wetlands convert Mercury (Hg) into methyl mercury, which is highly toxic to humans
-exposed to methyl mercury through consumption of fish, shellfish
Acid Deposition
Acids deposited on Earth as rain and snow or as gases and particles that attach to the surfaces of plants, soil, and water

-reduces the pH of bodies of water, lethal
Causes of Acid Deposition
1) burning coal
SOLUTION: coal scrubbers
2) ground water from underground mines
3) mountain top mining
Inert Ingredients
-additives that make a pesticide more effective
-legally classified as trade secrets, not required to be tested for safety, effects are not known
Pharmaceuticals & Hormones in Streams
50% contained antibiotics & reproductive hormones
80% contained non prescription drugs
90% contained steroids
Perchlorates
-A group of harmful chemicals used for rocket fuel
-persistant in soil
-affect the thyroid gland in humans if consumed
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
A group of industrial compounds used to manufacture plastics and insulate electrical transformers, and responsible for many environmental problems

-lethal & carcinogenic
-banned in the US in 1979
-still in environment b/c of their persistence
Polybrominated Biphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)
known as flame retardants

FOUND IN
construction materials, furniture, electrical components, and clothing

EFFECTS:
lead to brain damage
Sources of Oil Pollution
1) spills from oil tankers
ex: Exxon Valdez, Alaska 1989

2) offshore drilling
ex: BP, Gulf of Mexico 2010

3) oil pollution in the ocean naturally
-accounts for 45% of oil in water worldwide
Ways to Remediate Oil Pollution
1) contain & suck off surface
2) apply chemicals that disperse oil before reaching shore
3) genetically engineered bacteria that consume the oil
4) high-pressure hot water & waves can remove from shorelines
Types of Solid Waste Pollution
1) garbage
2) sludge
3) coal ash & coal sludge
Issues w/ Garbage & Sludge
-dumped in landfills, bodies of water
-wash up on coastal areas
-huge problem in developing countries due to a lack of political & economic structure
Issues w/ coal ash & coal sludge
-contains mercury, lead, arsenic
-considered "special waste," and is exempt from fed regulations for the disposal of hazardous waste
Sources of Sediment Pollution
1) construction of buildings
2) plowing agricultural fields
3) removing vegetation from edges of bodies of water

-30% of sediment in waterways comes from natural sources
-70% of sediment in waterways comes from human activities
Effects of Sediment Pollution
1) waterways become brown, cloudy
2) reduces infiltration of sunlight
3) clog gills, hinder ability of aquatic organisms to obtain oxygen
4) increased nutrients entering the ecosystem
Thermal Pollution
Non chemical water pollution that occurs when human activities cause a substantial change in the temperature of water
Source of Thermal Pollution
Industry removes cold water from a natural supply & uses it to absorb heat generated during manufacturing, then returns the heated water back to the natural supply
Thermal Shock
A dramatic change in water temperature that can kill organisms

-Hot water contains less oxygen and higher water temps cause organisms to increase their respiration rate, so they end up suffocating.
Solutions to Thermal Pollution
1) Outdoor Holding Ponds - pumping heated water into ponds where it cools before being pumped back into natural bodies of water
2) Cooling Towers = through evaporation, it releases excess heat into atmosphere instead of water.
Sources of Noise Pollution
1) city traffic
2) loud sounds and sonar from ships/submarines

interfere w/ animal communication
Solutions to Noise Pollution
ship designers have designed quieter propellers for ships
Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948
1st piece of water quality legislation
Clean Water Act of 1972
-does not include the protection of groundwater
-issued water quality standards that defined acceptable limits of various pollutants in US waterways
-allowed EPA & state gov's to issue permits to control how much pollution industries can discharge into the water
Safe Drinking Water Act
-EPA is responsible for est. maximum contaminant levels (MCL) for 77 different elements or substances in both surface water & groundwater
Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs)
-the standard for safe drinking water est. by the EPA under the Safe Drinking Water Act
-subject to political pressures
Impact of Water Regulations
GOOD:
-highly successful
-greatly reduced contamination of waters
-nearly eliminated major point sources of water pollution

BAD:
-non-point resources are not covered under existing legislation
-exempted fracking for natural gas from the Safe Drinking Water Act
Pollution & Contaminants in Developing Countries
-less able to afford water quality improvements
-polluting industries move from developed to developing countries. They suffer from the additional pollution, but benefit economically from the additional jobs & spending from the new industry