Define, pollution, pollutant, nonbiodegradable, point source, and nonpoint source
Pollution – the presence of a substance in the environment that, because its
chemical composition or quantity, prevents the functioning of natural
processes and produces undesirable environmental and health effects.
Pollutant – any material that causes pollution.
Nonbiodegradable – products that resist attack and breakdown by detritus
feeders and decomposers and consequently accumulate in the
Point source – involve the discharge of substances from factories, sewage
systems, power plants, underground coalmines, and oil wells.
Nonpoint source – poorly defined and scattered over broad areas.
Discuss each of the following categories of water pollutants and the problems
they cause: pathogens, organic wastes, chemical pollutants, and sediments.
Pathogens – disease-causing bacteria viruses, and other parasitic
They cause sickness and death.
Organic wastes – wastes that contain organic matter that creates serious
problems if it enters bodies of water untreated.
Chemical pollutants – inorganic chemicals that include heavy medals
(lead, mercury, arsenic, nickel, and so forth), acids from mine drainage
(sulfuric and nitric acids), and road salts.
Organic chemicals are another
group of substances found in polluted waters.
These pollutants are toxic
even at low concentrations.
Some may pass up the food chain in a process
Sediments – As natural landforms weather, and especially during storms, a
certain amount of sediment enters streams and rivers.
farmlands, deforested slopes, overgrazed rangelands, construction sites,
mining sites, stream banks, and roads can greatly increase the load of
sediment entering waterways.
How are water quality standards determined?
Distinguish between water quality
criteria pollutants and maximum contaminant levels.
Water quality standards are determined by the National Recommended
Water Quality Criteria.
Criteria pollutants are toxic chemicals (the
majority), but many are also natural chemicals or conditions that describe
the state of water, such as nutrients, hardness, and pH.
contaminant levels are a drinking water standard; the highest allowable
concentration of a pollutant in a drinking water source.
Give a brief history of how humans’ handling of sewage wastes has changed as
the risks and potential benefits have become better understood.
Before the late 1800s, the general means of disposing of human excrement was
the outdoor privy.
Seepage contaminated drinking water and caused disease.
flush toilet was introduced, and sewers were tapped into storm drains.
introduced one-way flow of flushing domestic and industrial wastewater into