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Malolos, Michelle E.

BA Communication 2A
WATER RESOURCES AND POLLUTION Life is possible on earth due to the presence of water. Nearly three-fourths of the earth's surface is covered with water. Water is also found below the earth's surface. It is present in air in the form of water vapour. About 70 per cent of the human body is water. The bodies of all plants and animals contain water. Sources of Water: Rainwater, oceans, rivers, lakes, streams, ponds and springs are natural sources of water. Dams, wells, tube wells, hand-pumps, canals, etc, are man-made sources of water. Rain Water: Rain water collects on the earth in the form of surface water and underground water (Fig. 8.1). Surface Water: Water present on the surface of the earth in the form of oceans, rivers, lakes, ponds and streams is called surface water. The water in rivers and lakes comes from rain and melting of snow on mountains. Rivers flow into the sea. Underground Water: Some of the rainwater seeps through the soil on to the non-porous rocks below. This is underground water. Sometimes due to high pressure, this water sprouts out in the form of springs. It can be obtained by digging wells, sinking tube wells, etc. Different Water Pollution Water pollution can come from a number of different sources. If the pollution comes from a single source, such as an oil spill, it is called point-source pollution. If the pollution comes from many sources, it is called nonpoint-source pollution. Most types of pollution affect the immediate area surrounding the source. Sometimes the pollution may affect the environment hundreds of miles away from the source, such as nuclear waste, this is called transboundary pollution. a. Surface water pollution Surface waters are the natural water resources of the Earth. They are found on the exterior of the Earths crust and include: Oceans Rivers Lakes

These waters can become polluted in a number of ways, and this is called surface water pollution. b. Oxygen depleting Microorganisms that live in water feed on biodegradable substances. When too much biodegradable material is added to water, the number of microorganisms increase and use up the available oxygen. This is called oxygen depletion. When oxygen levels in the water are depleted, relatively harmless aerobic microorganisms die and anaerobic microorganisms begin to thrive. Some anaerobic microorganisms are harmful to people, animals and the environment, as they produce harmful toxins such as ammonia and sulfides. c. Ground water pollution A lot of the Earths water is found underground in soil or under rock structures called aquifers. Humans often use aquifers as a means to obtain drinking water, and build wells to access it. When this water becomes polluted it is called groundwater pollution. Groundwater pollution is often caused by pesticide contamination from the soil, this can infect our drinking water and cause huge problems. d. Nutrients Nutrients are essential for plant growth and development. Many nutrients are found in wastewater and fertilisers, and these can cause excess weed and algae growth if large concentrations end up in water. This can contaminate drinking water and clog filters. This can be damaging to other aquatic organisms as the algae use up the oxygen in the water, leaving none for the surrounding marine life.

e. Microbiological water pollution Microbiological water pollution is usually a natural form of water pollution caused by microorganisms. Many types of microorganisms live in water and cause fish, land animals and humans to become ill. Microorganisms such as: Bacteria Viruses Protozoa

Serious diseases such as cholera come from microorganisms that live in water. These diseases usually affect the health of people in poorer countries, as they do not have the facilities to treat polluted water. f. Suspended matter Some pollutants do not dissolve in water as their molecules are too big to mix between the water molecules. This material is called particulate matter and can often be a cause of water pollution. The suspended particles eventually settle and cause a thick silt at the bottom. This is harmful to marine life that lives on the floor of rivers or lakes. Biodegradable substances are often suspended in water and can cause problems by increasing the amount of anaerobic microorganisms present. Toxic chemicals suspended in water can be harmful to the development and survival of aquatic life.

g. Chemical water pollution Industrial and agricultural work involves the use of many different chemicals that can run-off into water and pollute it. Metals and solvents from industrial work can pollute rivers and lakes. These are poisonous to many forms of aquatic life and may slow their development, make them infertile or even result in death. Pesticides are used in farming to control weeds, insects and fungi. Run-offs of these pesticides can cause water pollution and poison aquatic life. Subsequently, birds, humans and other animals may be poisoned if they eat infected fish. Petroleum is another form of chemical pollutant that usually contaminates water through oil spills when a ship ruptures. Oil spills usually have only a localised affect on wildlife but can spread for miles. The oil can cause the death of many fish and stick to the feathers of seabirds causing them to lose the ability to fly.

Different Water Pollutants Farm Chemicals Chemicals used in farming are a major source of water pollution. Fertilizers and pesticides are applied on the top of the ground to promote and maximize crop growth. These chemicals may enter the water by seeping through the ground and contaminating the water table, or they can get washed into watersheds by rain runoff. Fertilizers may be chemicals sprayed on the crops, but manure is also used. Both contain nitrates and phosphates, which will promote aquatic plant growth, including algae. Algal blooms can be devastating to a lake or pond. The algae consume oxygen and prevent sunlight from penetrating the water. Fish kills are a common result of excessive algae promotion. Sediments

Sediments, such as sand and silt, are a common pollutant that is not chemical in origin. Sediments may enter the water stream in many ways. Erosion of nearby riverbanks or lake shores are a natural source of sediment. The rate of erosion may be increased by humans or animals by digging or disturbing the land. Sediments may also enter the watershed by severe weather. Heavy rains erode the shores, and floods bring sediments from other locations. Droughts may also contribute. Dry, arid land is very susceptible to wind erosion. Other sediments are a result of construction, deforestation and dirt from roads. Rain washes materials off the road and into the watershed. Sediment will slowly fill the bottom of the body of water. This disturbs the organisms in the water by making it uninhabitable. Organic materials that enter the water, such as leaves, tree bark and grass, will begin to decompose. This process consumes the oxygen, killing the fish. Sewage Sewage pollution is a direct result of human activities. Wastewater is often dumped directly into lakes, rivers or the ocean. This waste is not always treated first. Raw sewage creates a health hazard for all organisms in the vicinity. Bacterial outbreaks occur, such as e coli, which can cause serious illness. Environmental Contaminants Water pollution that results from industrial contamination is usually highly publicized. This type of pollution often occurs from accidents or improper handling of toxic waste. Oil and radioactive waste are two extremely dangerous pollutants that can devastate a watershed. Oil spills can result in millions of barrels of oil entering the ocean. This oil coats the top of the water and injures all types of sea creatures. Radioactive waste enters the water from factories that improperly handle the waste product. Radioactive materials get into the drinking water and cause serious health problems. ENERGY What is Energy? It comes from many sources and in many forms. The forms of energy are classified in two general categories: potential and kinetic. Potential energy is energy stored in an object. Chemical, mechanical, nuclear, gravitational, and electrical are all stored energy. Kinetic energy does the work. Light, heat, motion, and sound are examples of kinetic energy. Heres a simple example. Stretching a rubber band gives it the potential to fly. The tension created from the stretching is potential mechanical energy. When the rubber band is released, it flies through the air using motion (kinetic energy). The process of changing energy from one form into another is called energy transformation. The rubber band is transformed from potential energy into kinetic energy. Systems convert energy at various rates of efficiency. Water turbines, for example, are very efficient, while combustion engines are not. Engineers and physicists constantly work to develop systems with high energy-conversion efficiency. What are the Sources of Energy? Primary energy sources (meaning energy is created directly from the actual resource) can be classified in two groups: nonrenewable or renewable. Secondary sources are derived from primary sources.

Non-Renewable Energy Sources Energy from the ground that has limited supplies, either in the form of gas, liquid or solid, are called nonrenewable resources. They cannot be replenished, or made again, in a short period of time. Examples include: oil (petroleum), natural gas, coal and uranium (nuclear). Oil, natural gas and coal are called fossil fuels because they have been formed from the organic remains of prehistoric plants and animals. Renewable Energy Sources Energy that comes from a source thats constantly renewed, such as the sun and wind, can be replenished naturally in a short period of time. Because of this we do not have to worry about them running out. Examples include: solar, wind, biomass and hydropower. Currently, less than 2% of the worlds electricity comes from renewable resources. There is a global debate as to whether geothermal energy is renewable or nonrenewable. Secondary Energy Sources Energy that is converted from primary sources are secondary sources of energy. Secondary sources of energy are used to store, move, and deliver energy in an easily usable form. Examples include electricity and hydrogen. SOLIDS AND HAZARDOUS WASTE Solid Waste Solid waste is anything a campus or other entity no longer needs or no longer wants, even if it is liquid or gaseous. Other terms for solid waste are garbage, trash, or refuse. Some recyclable materials, such as scrap metals, are exempt from the definition of solid waste, but others are not. The definition of solid waste is in 40 CFR 261.2. The federal RCRA program encourages individual states to develop specific requirements for management of solid wastes. Examples of these include construction/demolition debris, tires, medical wastes, and petroleum wastes. Individual states may have more specific requirements than required by federal RCRA. Hazardous Waste Hazardous wastes are a specific category of solid wastes. RCRA identified two general categories of hazardous waste: those that are specifically listed in the regulations, and those that exhibit a hazardous characteristic by being flammable, corrosive, reactive, or toxic (see nearby table). Most empty containers are not hazardous waste under federal RCRA rules. Although it may be dangerous, most waste that comes from residential settings is not hazardous under the federal RCRA rules. As with solid waste, states may have more specific requirements than required by federal RCRA. Acute Hazardous Wastes (P-Listed Wastes) Certain hazardous wastes are subject to higher levels of regulation. These are acute hazardous or P-listed wastes. With the exception of a few pesticides, laboratories are usually the only activities on a campus that will generate these wastes. Examples include arsenic compounds, azides, cyanides, and osmium tetroxide. The complete P-list is in 40 CFR 261.33. Used reagents on this list are not automatically acute hazardous waste. Under federal standards, acute hazardous waste is only an unused discard, an off-specification product, or a container

residue where the chemical in the P-list is the sole active ingredient. There are specific rules for empty containers that held these wastes in 40 CFR 261.7. Hazardous Waste Determination A hazardous waste determination is the decision that something is a waste, followed by the decision that the regulations consider it hazardous waste or simply a solid waste. At this point, the waste becomes subject to regulation. Failure to make a waste determination is a serious and common breach of the RCRA regulations. Such a failure can also result in unknown wastes, which can be very expensive to manage. Generator The generator is the entity that creates the waste. The vast majority of the liability associated with hazardous waste lies with the generator. Recent EPA interpretive guidance makes it clear that employees act as agents of their employer for the purposes of generation. On college and university campuses, the corporate entity is the generator, not the individual. Generators may be required to obtain a generator identification number from EPA, using a specific notification form. Generator Status The operational and management requirements for campuses that generate hazardous waste vary depending on the amount of hazardous waste generated within a site each month (see nearby table). To encourage waste reduction, the level of RCRA regulation is a function of the amount of waste generated. Regardless of the campus generator status, no amount of a hazardous waste is exempt from regulations. Site, Onsite, and Contiguous Property EPA regulates generators geographically by site, and this will factor into the determination of generator status. In most cases, the EPA definition of a site is a contiguous property bounded by public roads. The full definition is in 40 CFR 260.10. Colleges and universities should confirm state definitions for site. Hazardous Waste Codes For accounting purposes, EPA assigned alphanumeric waste codes to different types of wastes. Notification EPA requires that generators of hazardous waste perform a one-time notification. This notification uses a standard form that requires description of the site and hazardous waste codes generated at that site. This notification has to be updated if the information changes. Hazardous Waste Manifest This manifest is a multicopy document used to identify, quantify, and track hazardous waste from the generator to the point of destruction. Generators, transporters, and waste disposal facilities may have to transmit some copies of this document to EPA or the state environmental protection agency, depending on the locations of generation and the waste disposal facility. The generator must maintain other copies.