67 terms

Water Pollution


Terms in this set (...)

Coal Ash
byproduct of burning fuel, highly toxic, stored in ponds, transpiring into streams/ground wate
What will always be a problem with "Clean Coal"?
reduces the ability to transport oxygen, causes blue baby syndrome
Water Pollution
any physical or chemical change in water that adversely affects the health of humans and other organisms
What are the eight categories of water pollutants?
sewage, disease-causing agents, sediment pollution, inorganic plant and algal nutrients, organic compounds, inorganic chemicals, radioactive substances, thermal pollution
the release of waste water from drains or sewers
too many nutrients in water body so it upsets the natural balance of the water body
Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)
amount of oxygen needed by microorganisms to decompose biological wastes. As BOD increases, dissolve oxygen decreases
natural levels of nutrients in your water (un-enriched, clear water that supports small populations of aquatic organisms) GOOD
increase in nutrients that upsets the biological flow (slow-flowing stream, lake or estuary enriched by inorganic plant and algal nutrients such as high nutrient levels, poor light penetration, low dissolved oxygen, shallow waters) BAD
Artificial Eutrophication
eutrophication caused by humans
Disease-Causing Agents
infections organisms that cause diseases that originates in the wastes of infected individuals
What bacteria is used as an indicator of the level of sewage present in water?
Fecal Coliform Test
water quality test for the presence of fecal bacteria, which indicates a chance that pathogenic organisms may be present as well
Bacterial Source Tracking
Using molecular biological techniques to identify the source of dangerous bacteria in a stream or other body of water
Sediment Pollution
excessive amounts of suspended soil particles- originates from erosion of agricultural lands, forest soils exposed by logging, degraded stream banks, overgrazed rangelands, strip mines, and construction
A measure of how clear water is
What does turbid water do to producers?
it kills them
Inorganic Plant and Algal Nutrients
nitrogen and phosphorous that stimulate the growth of plants and algae, harmful in large concentration. sources are human and animal wastes, plant residues, atmospheric deposition, and fertilizer runoff. causes enrichment, bad odors, and a high BOD
Dead Zone
zero oxygen availability, zero life
What causes the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico?
Excessive nutrients like nitrogen and phosporus that get deposited into the gulf through the mississippi
An insufficiency of oxygen in the body's tissues
How many states does the Mississippi River drain?
Organic Compounds
chemicals that contain carbon atoms
Volatile Organic Compounds
Organic chemicals and petrochemicals that emit vapors while evaporating. In paints, VOC generally refers to the solvent portion of the paint which, when it evaporates, results in the formation of paint film on the substrate to which it was applied
How do VOCs get into and contaminate groundwater?
they come from everywhere
Inorganic chemicals
contaminants that contain elements other than carbon, do not decay easily
How does lead contaminate groundwater?
found in old paint, industrial pollutants, leaded gasoline
What three groups of people are at greatest risk of lead poisoning?
1) minors or adult who has the mental capacity of a child and who has an appointed guardian 2) persons who are unconscious or injured in such a way that they are unable to give consent 3) people with mental illnesses who have been judged by professionals to be incompetent.
What releases the largest amount of mercury into the environment?
Mercury bio accumulates in the muscles of top predators of the open ocean
Radioactive Substances
contain atoms of unstable isotopes that spontaneously emit radiation
Thermal Pollution
occurs when heated water produced during industrial processes is released into waterways
What does an increased water temperature do to lakes, streams, and rivers?
decreases oxygen in water; warmer the temp, the less oxygen is available; temperature affects reproductive cycles, digestion rates, and respiration rates in fish
Point Source Pollution
water pollution that can be traced to a specific origin
Nonpoint Source Pollution
pollutants that enter bodies of water over large areas rather than being concentrated at a single point of entry; diffuse, but its cumulative effect is very large
What is the leading source of water quality impairment of surface waters in the United States?
National Water Quality Assessment Program
carefully describe current water-quality conditions, monitor and describe water-quality changes over time, increase understanding concerning human and natural factors tha affect nations water quality
Urban Runoff
Runoff from the city that usually contains pollution
Combined Sewer Systems
a municipal sewage system in which human and industrial wastes are mixed with urban runoff from storm sewers before flowing into the sewage treatment plant
Combined Sewer Overflow
The excess water that flows into nearby waterways without treatment
A stream or overflow from a larger body of water, or from a channel or sewer
Green Chemistry
chemistry designed with minimizing environmental impacts in mind
What does nitrogen do to the human body?
Nitrogen is used in the human body to make proteins in DNA, muscles, blood, hair, skin, and nails
Is water pollution a problem in other countries? What is similar (between other countries and the U.S.)? What is different?
India: Ganges River used for everything! (bathing, washing, etc.) sewage and industrial waste discharged into river, very gross
Ganga Action Plan
initiated by government, construction of 29 sewage plants, taking a long time to make
What does chronic arsenic poisoning do to the human body?
Skin changes and hair loss
How is drinking water purified in the United States?
treated, used, treated, treated, used
Why is fluoride added to water? Is it safe?
70% of US drinking water is fluoridated, Prevents tooth decay, Once believed to be linked to cancer, kidney disease - current studies do not show this
Primary Treatment
Removing suspended and floating particles by mechanical processes (all solids taken out)
Primary Sludge
A slimy mixture of bacteria-laden solids that settles out from sewage wastewater during primary treatment
Secondary Treatment
Treating waste water biologically to decompose suspended organic material; reduces BOD
Trickling Filters
treats municipal sewage
Activted Sludge Process
biological break down of sludge with microorganisms
Secondary Sludge
A slimy mixture of bacteria-laden solids that settles out from sewage wastewater during secondary treatment
Tertiary Treatment
Advanced wastewater treatment methods that are sometimes employed after primary and secondary treatments, reduce phosphorus and nitrogen
List five possible ways to handle/dispose of primary and secondary sludge.
Ocean Dumping Ban Act
Bans ocean dumping of sewage sludge and industrial waste
How does a septic tank work?
Waste enters, solids fall and create sludge (removed periodically), water seaps out and is filtered into ground (drain field)
Constructed Wetlands
artificial marshes designed to filter and decompose waste
Composting Toilets
what can you not use in houston to limit water use in a building
How do governments generally control point source pollution?
Through tax revenue and through borrowed funds
Refue Act
protects groundwater
What are the main goals of the Safe Drinking Water Act?
set uniform federal standards for drinking water including maximum contaminant levels
Maximum Contaminant Level
The maximum permissible amount (by law) of a water pollutant that might adversely affect human health
What are the main goals of the Clean Water Act?
EPA sets up and monitors National Emissions Limitations, Effectively improved water quality from point sources
National Emission Limitation
law that protects groundwater
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
law that protects groundwater
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
law that protects groundwater