Upgrade to remove ads
APES-Chapter 14 Key Terms: Water Pollution
Terms in this set (75)
Tertiary or Advanced Sewage Treatment
Specialized chemical and physical processes that reduce the amount of specific pollutants left in wastewater after primary and secondary sewage treatment. This type of treatment is usually expensive.
Are by far the leading cause of water pollution. Sediment eroded from agricultural lands and overgrazed rangeland is the largest source. Other major agricultural pollutants include fertilizers and pesticides, bacteria from livestock and food processing wastes, and excess salt from soils of irrigated cropland.
This toxin contaminates drinking water when a well is drilled into aquifers where soils and rock are naturally rich in arsenic. According to estimates by the WHO, long- term exposure to arsenic in drinking water is likely to cause 200,000-270,000 premature deaths from cancer of the skin, bladder, and lung in Bangladesh alone.
Biological Magnification (Biomagnification)
Increase in concentration of DDT, PCBs, and other slowly degradable, fat-soluble chemicals in organisms at successively higher trophic levels of a food chain or web.
Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)
Amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic decomposers to break down the organic materials in a given volume of water at a given temperature over a specified time period.
About 36% of sewage sludge is used to fertilize farmland, forests, golf courses, cemeteries, parkland, highway medians, and degraded land.
Before discharge, water from primary, secondary, or advanced treatment undergoes bleaching to remove water coloration and disinfection to kill disease-carrying bacteria and some but not all viruses.
Before water is discharged after primary, secondary, or advanced treatment, it is bleached (to remove water coloration) and disinfected (to kill disease-carrying bacterial and some but not all viruses). The usually method for doing this is chlorination. However, chlorine can react with organic materials in water to form small amounts of chlorinated hydrocarbons, some of which cause cancers in test animals. Other disinfectants such as ozone and ultraviolet light are used in some places, but they cost more than chlorination and are not as long-lasting.
Clean Water Act
Because of the Clean Water Act, most U.S. cities have combined primary and secondary sewage treatment plants. According to the EPA, however, at least two-thirds of these plants have at times violated water pollution regulations.
Are used as an indicator of the quality of water for drinking or swimming. The number of colonies of coliform bacteria present in a 100-millimeter sample of water is tested. The World health Organization recommends a coliform bacteria count of 0 colonies per 100 milliliters for drinking water, and the EA recommends a maximum level for swimming water of 200 colonies per 100 milliliters. Because the average human excretes about 2 billion such organisms a day, we can see how easily untreated sewage can contaminate water.
Composting Toilet Systems
A system whereby households, apartment buildings, and offices eliminate sewage outputs by switching to waterless composting toilet systems that are installed, maintained, and managed by professionals. Such systems would be cheaper to install and maintain than current sewage systems because they do not require vast systems of underground pipes connected to centralized sewage treatment plants. They also save large amounts of water.
(crip-toe-spor-ID-ee-um) is a protozoan, a single-celledparasite,that lives in the intestines of animals and people. This microscopic pathogen causes a disease calledcryptosporidiosis(crip-toe-spor-id-ee-O-sis). Thedormant(inactive)formof Cryptosporidium, called an oocyst (O-o-sist), is excreted in the feces (stool) of infected humans and animals. The tough-walled oocysts survive under a wide range of environmental conditions.
Overnourishment of aquatic ecosystems with plant nutrients (mostly nitrates and phosphates) because of human activities such as agriculture, urbanization, and discharges from industrial plants and sewage treatment plants.
This Ohio river was so polluted that in 1959 and again in 1969 it caught fire and burned for several days as it flowed through Cleveland. This river has been cleaned up subsequently and is a real success story about how a river can recover.
The passing of watery stools. Diarrhea kills about 1.9 million people (about 90% of the children under 5 in developing countries) a year. The number of children killed by largely preventable diarrhea in the past 10 years is greater than the number of people killed in all armed conflicts since World War II.
The level of dissolved oxygen present in bodies of water is related to the amount of oxygen-demanding wastes present (so called because they are broken down by oxygen-requiring bacteria, and plant nutrients in a sample of water).
Materials scraped from the bottoms of harbors and streams to maintain shipping channels. They are often contaminated with high levels of toxic substances that have settled out of the water.
Physical, chemical, and biological changes that take place after a lake, estuary, or slow-flowing steam receives inputs of plant nutrients - mostly nitrates and phosphates - from natural erosion and runoff from the surrounding land basin.
On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez, a tanker more than three football fields long, went off course in a 16-kilometer-wide (11-mile-wide) channel in Prince William Sound near Valdez, Alaska. It hit submerged rocks, creating the worst oil spill ever in U.S. waters before the BP Gulf Spill.
Fecal Coliform Bacteria
Strains of bacteria that live in the colon or intestines of humans and other animals and thus are present in their fecal wastes. Although most strains of coliform bacteria do not cause disease, their present indicates that water has been exposed to human or animal wastes that are likely to contain disease-causing agents.
According to the WHO, an estimated 70 million people in northern China and 30 million in northwestern India drink groundwater contaminated with high levels of naturally occurring fluoride. This can cause crippling backbone and neck damage and a variety of dental problems.
Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972
(renamed the Clean Water Act when it was amended in 1977) and the 1987 Water Quality Act form the basis of U.S. efforts to control pollution of the country's surface waters. The main goals of the Clean Water Act were to make all U.S. surface waters safe for fishing and swimming by 1983 and to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters. Progress has been made, but these goals have not been met.
Occurs when aquatic systems are disrupted by the deliberate or accidental introduction of nonnative species. Some of these species can crowd out native species, reduce biodiversity, and cause economic losses. The principal method by which nonnative species are introduced into marine systems is through the intake and discharge of ballast from ships.
Giardia is a one-celled parasite that can cause a gastrointestinal illness caused giardiasis. Giardia is found in the feces of infected animals or humans. To become infected, a person must consume contaminated food or water including drinking from streams or rivers. Diarrhea, stomach cramps, bloating, gas, fatigue or weight loss.
Harmful Algal Blooms
Runoffs of sewage and agricultural wastes into coastal waters introduce large quantities of nitrate and phosphate plant nutrients, which can cause explosive growth of harmful algae. These HABs are called red, brown, or green toxic tides, depending on their color. They can release waterborne and airborne toxins that damage fisheries, kill some fish-eating birds, reduce tourism, and poison seafood.
Scientists monitor water pollution by using living organisms as indicator species. For example, they remove aquatic plants such as cattails and analyze them to determine pollution in areas contaminated with fuels, solvents, and other organic chemicals. Bottom-dwelling species such as mussels that feed by filtering water through their bodies can also be analyzed to determine water quality.
Inorganic Plant Nutrients
Are a class of water pollutants that are include water-soluble nitrates and phosphates that can cause excessive growth of algae and other aquatic plants, which then die and decay, depleting water of dissolved oxygen and killing fish. Drinking water with excessive levels of nitrates lowers the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood; this can kill unborn children and infants, especially those under 1 year old.
London Dumping Convention of 1972
Under the London Dumping Convention of 1972, 100 countries agreed not to dump highly toxic pollutants and high-level radioactive wastes in the open sea beyond the boundaries of their national jurisdiction.
Maximum Contaminant Levels
The U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 requires the EPA to establish national drinking water standards called maximum contaminant levels, for any pollutants that may have adverse effects on human health. Such laws do not exist or are not enforce in most developing countries.
Groundwater used as a source of drinking water can be contaminated with nitrate ions, especially in agricultural areas where nitrates in fertilizer can be leached into groundwater. Nitrite ions (NO2-) in the stomach, colon, and bladder can convert some of the nitrate ions in drinking water to organic compounds which can cause cancer in various organs in more than 40 test animals species. The conversion of nitrates in tap water to nitrites in infants under 6 months old can cause a potentially fatal condition known as "blue baby syndrome," in which blood lacks the ability to carry sufficient oxygen to body cells.
Can include toxic lead, arsenic, and fluoride - these wastes are considered to be in groundwater permanently on a human time scale.
Large or dispersed land areas such as cropfields, streets, and lawns that discharge pollutants into the environment over a large area.
Oil Protection Act of 1990
Was passed in the wake of the Valdez spill. It was supposed to regulate supertankers and reduce the chances of supertanker oil spills. However, to get around the law many oil carriers have shifted their oil transport operations to lightly regulated oil barges pulled by tugboats. This reduction in oil spill safety has led to several barge oil spills.
Water can be polluted by a variety of organic chemicals, which include oil, gasoline, plastics, pesticides, cleaning solvents, detergents, and many other chemicals. They threaten human health and harm fish and other aquatic life.
Organic materials that are usually biodegraded by aerobic (oxygen-consuming) bacteria if there is enough dissolved oxygen in the water.
According to a 2004 report by the U.N. Environment Programme, each year some 150 large oxygen-depleted zones (sometimes inaccurately called dead zones) form mostly in temperate coastal waters and in land-locked seas such as the Baltic and Black Seas. These zones result from excessive nonpoint inputs of fertilizers and animal wastes from land runoff and deposition of nitrogen compounds from the atmosphere. This cultural eutrophication depletes dissolved oxygen. Without oxygen most of the aquatic life (except bacteria) dies or moves elsewhere.
In a flowing stream, the breakdown of degradable wastes by bacteria depletes dissolved oxygen and creates an oxygen sag curve. This reduces or eliminates populations of organisms with high oxygen requirements until the stream is cleansed of wastes.
Organisms that produce disease.
Pfiesteria (fee-STEER-ee-uh), is a microscopic aquatic organism that sometimes produces chemicals called toxins that can injure or kill fish, and that may also cause temporary health problems in people who breathe in the chemicals or get them on their skin. Pfiesteria has been blamed for fish kills on the Eastern coast from Delaware to Florida. Pfiesteria has only been a problem in the warmer months, usually between April and October and only where salt waters and fresh waters mix, like the estuaries, sounds and rivers near the coast. When Pfiesteria produces its toxins, they mix with the water and possibly the air. People may be at risk if the toxins are inhaled or absorbed through their skin. Exposure to Pfiesteria toxins has been reported to have caused headaches, dizziness, a burning sensation on the skin or eyes, skin lesions or sores, nausea, intestinal distress, and short- term memory loss to some people.
A single identifiable source that discharges pollutants into the environment. Examples are the smokestack of a power plant or an industrial plant, the drainpipe of a meat- packing plant, the chimney of a house, or the exhaust pipe of an automobile.
Primary Sewage Treatment
Mechanical treatment of sewage in which large solids are filtered out by screens and suspended solids settle out as sludge in a sedimentation tank.
Invaded the Great Lakes in 1991 (is larger than a zebra mussel). This potentially more destructive species than the zebra mussel was probably discharged in the ballast water of a Russian freighter. It can survive at greater depths and tolerate more extreme temperatures than the zebra mussel. There is concern that it may eventually colonize areas such as the Chesapeake Bay and waterways in parts of Florida.
Includes insoluble particles of soil and other solids that become suspended in water, mostly when soil is eroded from the land. Sediment clouds water and reduces photosynthesis; it also disrupts aquatic food webs and carries pesticides, bacteria, and other harmful substances. Sediment that settles out destroys feeding and spawning grounds of fish. It also clogs and fills lakes, artificial reservoirs, stream channels, and harbors.
Secondary Sewage Treatment
Second step in most waste treatment systems, in which aerobic bacteria break down up to 90% of degradable, oxygen-demanding organic wastes in wastewater. This is usually done by bringing sewage and bacteria together in trickling filters or the activated sludge process.
Underground tank for treatment of wastewater from a home in rural and suburban areas. Bacteria in the tank decompose organic wastes, and the sludge settles to the bottom of the tank. The effluent flows out of the tank into the ground through a field of drain pipes.
Gooey mixture of toxic chemicals, infectious agents, and settled solids, removed from wastewater at a sewage treatment plant.
Sewage Treatment Plants
In U.S. urban areas, most waterborne wastes from homes, businesses, factories, and storm runoff flow through a network of sewer pipes to wastewater or sewage treatment plants. Some cities have a separate network of pipes for carrying runoff of storm water from streets and parking lots.
Gooey mixture of toxic chemicals, infectious agents, and settled solids removed from wastewater at a sewage treatment plant.
Involves reducing the toxicity or volume of pollutants (for example, replacing organic solvent-based inks and paints with water-based materials.
Increase in water temperature that has harmful effects on aquatic life.
U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974
Requires the EPA to establish national drinking water standards, called maximum contaminant levels, for any pollutants that may have adverse effects on human health. This act has helped improved drinking water in much of the United States but attempts to weaken this law continue. In addition, maximum contaminant levels have not been set for many potentially dangerous water pollutants such as certain synthetic organic compounds, radioactive materials, toxic metals, and pathogens.
Any physical or chemical change in surface water or groundwater that can harm living organisms or make water unfit for certain uses.
Water-Soluble Inorganic Chemicals
A class of water pollutants which include acids, salts, and compounds of toxic metals such as mercury and lead. High levels of these chemicals can make water unfit to drink, harm fish and aquatic life, lower crop yields, and accelerate corrosion of metals exposed to such water.
Water-Soluble Radioactive Isotopes
Water can also be polluted by water-soluble radioactive isotopes, some of which are concentrated or biologically magnified in various tissues and organs as they pass through food chains and webs. Ionizing radiation emitted by such isotopes can cause birth defects, cancer, and genetic damage.
In 1986, larvae of a nonnative species, the zebra mussel, arrived in ballast water discharged from a European ship near Detroit. With no known natural enemies, these tiny mussels have run amok; they deplete the food supply for other lake species, clog irrigation pipes, shut down water intake systems for power plants and city water supplies, foul beaches, and grow in huge masses on boat hulls, piers, and other surfaces.
Acids deposited on Earth as rain and snow or as gases and particles that attach to the surfaces of plants, soil, and water.
Acid Mine Drainage (AMD)
Is acidic water (pH <5.0), laden with iron, sulfate and other metals, that forms under natural conditions when geologic layers containing pyrite are exposed to the atmosphere or oxidizing environments. Can result form from coal mining, both in surface and in underground mines.
Chemical Methods (Cleaning Oil Spills)
Include using coagulating agents to cause floating oil to clump together for easier pickup or to sink to the bottom (where it usually does less harm) and dispersing agents to break up oil slicks. But these agents can damage some types of organisms. Fire can burn off floating oil, but crude oil is hard to ignite and burning it produces air pollution.
(Oil as it comes out of the ground) - Gooey liquid consisting mostly of hydrocarbon compounds and small amounts of compounds containing oxygen, sulfur, and nitrogen. Extracted from underground accumulations, it is sent to oil refineries, where it is converted to heating oil, diesel fuel, gasoline, tar, and other materials.
A body of water with an area of extremely low dissolved oxygen levels and very little life.
When groundwater becomes contaminated, it cannot cleanse itself of degradable wastes as flowing surface water does. One reason is that groundwater flows so slowly (usually less than 0.3 meter or 1 foot per day) that contaminants are not diluted and dispersed effectively. It can take hundreds to thousands of years for contaminated groundwater to cleanse itself of degradable wastes.
Wastewater from baths, showers, bathrooms, and washing machines.
A component of a septic system, made up of underground pipes laid out below the surface of the ground.
Human-made ponds lined with rubber and built to handle large quantities of manure produced by commercial livestock operations.
Mechanical Methods (Cleaning of Oil Spills)
Include using floating booms to contain the oil spill or keep it from reaching sensitive areas, skimmer boats to vacuum up some of the oil into collection barges, and absorbent devices such as large mesh pillows filled with feathers or hair to soak up oil on beaches or in waters too shallow for skimmer boats.
Surface mining disturbs the Earth's surface, creating a major source of eroded sediments and runoff of toxic chemicals. Acidic compounds draining from active and abandoned sub-surface and surface mines into streams can kill fish and other aquatic life.
PBDEs (Polybrominated Biphenyl Ether
An environmentally harmful compound commonly found in flame retardants and other materials.
PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls)
A group of industrial compounds formerly used to manufacture plastics and insulate electrical transformers, and responsible for many environmental problems.
Includes fuel oil, gasoline, and other processed petroleum products.
A relatively small and simple sewage treatment system, made up of a septic tank and a leach field, often used for homes in rural areas.
A layer of fairly clear water found in the middle of a septic tank.
Gooey mixture of toxic chemicals, infectious agents, and settled solids removed from wastewater at a sewage treatment plant.
Water produced by human activities including human sewage from toilets and gray water from bathing and washing of clothes and dishes.
The World Health Organization.
Unwanted rock and other waste materials produced when a material is removed from the earth's surface or subsurface by mining, dredging, quarrying, and excavation.
THIS SET IS OFTEN IN FOLDERS WITH...
APES-Chapter 2 Key Terms: Environmental Systems
APES-Environmental Laws and International Treaties
APES-Chapter 1 Key Terms: Studying the State of Ou…
APES-Chapter 16: Quiz 2
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE...
AP Enviro Water Pollution
Environmental Science Chapter 14: Water Pollution
AP Environmental Science Chapter 14: Wat…
AP Environmental chapter 14
OTHER SETS BY THIS CREATOR
Unit 6-Energy Resources and Consumption
Unit 4 - Earth Systems