The contamination of streams, rivers, lakes, oceans, or groundwater with substances produced through human activities.
Water produced by livestock operations and human activities, including human sewage from toilets and gray water from bathing and washing of clothes and dishes.
A distinct location from which pollution is directly produced.
A diffuse area that produces pollution.
Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)
The amount of oxygen a quantity of water uses over a period of time at specific temperatures.
In a body of water, an area with extremely low oxygen concentration and very little life.
A phenomenon in which a body of water becomes rich in nutrients.
An increase in fertility in a body of water, the result of anthropogenic inputs of nutrients.
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.
A relatively small and simple sewage treatment system, made up of septic tank and a leach field, often used for homes in rural areas.
A large container that receives wastewater from a house as part of a septic system.
Solid waste material from wastewater.
A layer of fairly clear water found in the middle of a septic tank.
A component of a septic system, made up of underground pipes laid out below the surface of the ground.
Human-made pond lined with rubber built to handle large quantities of manure produced by livestock.
Acids deposited on Earth as rain and snow or as gases and particles that attach to the surfaces of plants, soil, and water.
A group of harmful chemicals used for rocket fuel.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
A group of industrial compounds used to manufacture plastics and insulate electrical transformers, and responsible for many environmental problems.
Nonchemical water pollution that occurs when human activities cause a substantial change in the temperature of water.
A dramatic change in water temperature that can kill organisms.
Clean Water Act
Legislation that supports the "protection and propagation of fish, shellfish, and wildlife and recreation in and on the water" by maintaining and, when necessary, restoring the chemical, physical, and biological properties of surface waters.
Safe Drinking Water Act
Legislation that sets the national standards for safe drinking water.
Maximum contaminant level (MCL)
The standard for safe drinking water established by the EPA under the Safe Drinking Water Act.