ESC110 Chapter Ten Water: Resources and Pollution.
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- ESC110 Chapter Ten Water: Resources and Pollution
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- Part 6: Water Pollution Point source pollution - source is from drain pipes, ditches, sewer outfalls, factories and power plants - easy to monitor and regulate Nonpoint source pollution - runoff from farm fields and feedlots, lawns and gardens, golf courses, construction sites, atmospheric deposits - no specific location so harder to monitor and regulate
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- Types and Results of Water Pollution Infectious agents - 25 million deaths a year Organic materials - biological oxygen demand (BOD) increase resulting in oxygen sag Plant nutrients - eutrophication, toxic tides Metals - mercury and lead poisoning Nonmetallic salts - poison seeps and springs Acids and bases - ecosystem destabilization Organic chemicals - birth defects, cancer Sediments - clogged estuaries, death of coral reefs Thermal pollution - thermal plume
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- Infectious Agents Main source of waterborne pathogens is untreated and improperly treated human waste. Animal wastes from feedlots and fields is also an important source of pathogens. In developed countries, sewage treatment plants and pollution-control devices have greatly reduced pathogens. Tests for water quality are done for coliform bacteria (intestinal bacteria). Such tests are easier and cheaper. Escherichia coli (E. coli) is the major coliform bacterium species
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- Basics for Understanding Environmental Implications of Oxygen-Demanding Wastes Water with a Dissolved Oxygen Content (DOC) content > 6 parts per million (ppm) will support desirable aquatic life, whereas water with < 2 ppm oxygen will support mainly detritivores and decomposers. Oxygen is added to water by diffusion from wind and waves, and by photosynthesis from green plants, algae, and cyanobacteria. Oxygen is removed from water by respiration and oxygen-consuming processes. Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) is the amount of dissolved oxygen consumed by aquatic microorganisms in respiration. When organic wastes are added to rivers, microorganisms demand oxygen for respiration used in consuming the increase in food resource. As a result, DOC levels decline downstream (oxygen sag) from a pollution source as decomposers metabolize organic waste materials.
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- Oxygen sag
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- Plant Nutrients and Cultural Eutrophication Oligotrophic - Bodies of water that have clear water and low biological productivity. Eutrophic - Bodies of water that are rich in organisms and organic material. Eutrophication - Process of increasing nutrient levels and biological productivity. Cultural Eutrophication - Increase in biological productivity and ecosystem succession caused by human activities.
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- Toxic Tides Excessive nutrients support blooms of deadly aquatic microorganisms in polluted waters. Increasingly common where nutrients and wastes wash down rivers. Pfiesteria piscicida is a poisonous dinoflagellate recognized as killer of fish and shellfish.
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- Inorganic Pollutants Metals Many metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and nickel are highly toxic. Highly persistent and tend to bioaccumulate in food chains. Lead pipes are a serious source of drinking water pollution. Mine drainage and leaching are serious sources of environmental contamination. Nonmetallic Salts Many salts that are non-toxic at low concentrations can be mobilized by irrigation and concentrated by evaporation, reaching levels toxic to plants and animals. Leaching of road salts has had detrimental effect on many ecosystems. Acids and Bases Often released as by-products of industrial processes.
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- Organic Chemicals Thousands of natural and synthetic organic chemicals are used to make pesticides, plastics, pharmaceuticals, pigments, etc. Two most important sources of toxic organic chemicals in water are: Improper disposal of industrial and household wastes. Runoff of pesticides from high-use areas. Fields, roadsides, golf courses
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- Sediment Human activities have accelerated erosion rates in many areas. Cropland erosion contributes about 25 billion metric tons of suspended solids to world surfaces each year. Sediment can either be beneficial (nourish floodplains) or harmful (smother aquatic life).
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- Thermal Pollution Raising or lowering water temperatures from normal levels can adversely affect water quality and aquatic life. Oxygen solubility in water decreases as temperatures increase. Species requiring high oxygen levels are adversely affected by warming water. Industrial cooling often uses heat-exchangers to extract excess heat, and discharge heated water back into original source. Thermal Plume Produce artificial environments which attract many forms of wildlife.
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- Three "waters" I have measured: Water mg/liter ------------------------------------------------------- 1) 205 2) 73,000 3) 89,000
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- Which one would you rather drink? Water mg/liter number of class ---------------------------------------------------------- 1) 205>200 2) 73,000 0 3) 89,000 1
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- Three "waters" I have measured: Water mg/liter what is it? ------------------------------------------------------------------- 1) 205 Snoqualmie Pass Sewage 2) 73,000 Coca Cola Classic 3) 89,000 Whole milk
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- Part 7: Water Quality Today
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- Percentage of impaired river miles in the U.S. by source of damage
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- Areas of Progress Clean Water Act (1972) established a National Pollution Discharge System which requires a permit for any entity dumping wastes in surface waters. In 1999, EPA reported 91.4% of all monitored river miles and 87.5% of all accessed lake acres are suitable for their designated uses. Most progress due to municipal sewage treatment facilities. Watershed Approach Is Also an Improvement 1998, EPA switched regulatory approaches. Rather than issue standards on a site by site approach, the focus is now on watershed-level monitoring and protection. States are required to identify waters not meeting water quality goals and develop total maximum daily loads (TMDL) for each pollutant and each listed water body. Persistent Environmental Problems That Remain Greatest impediments to achieving national goals in water quality are sediment, nutrients, and pathogens, especially from non-point discharges. About three-quarters of water pollution in the US comes from soil erosion, air pollution fallout, and agricultural and urban runoff. Single cow produces 30 kg manure/day. Some feedlots have 100,000 animals.
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- Groundwater and Drinking water Pollution About half the US population, and 95% of rural residents, depend on underground aquifers for drinking water. For decades, groundwater was assumed impervious to pollution. It was considered the gold standard for water quality. An estimated 1.5 million Americans fall ill from fecal contamination annually. Cryptosporidium outbreaks
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- Groundwater Pollution
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- Progress and Problems in Other Countries Sewage treatment in wealthier countries of Europe generally equal or surpass the US. In Russia, only about half of the tap water supply is safe to drink. In urban areas of South America, Africa, and Asia, 95% of all sewage is discharged untreated into rivers. Two-thirds of India's surface waters are contaminated sufficiently to be considered dangerous to human health.
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- Location of Oil Pollution in the Oceans
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- Part 8: Pollution Control Nonpoint Pollution Sources and Land Management Reduce nutrient loading thru land use regulations Source reduction is cheapest and most effective way to reduce pollution. To work society must get public and business leaders to avoid producing or releasing substances into the environment. Studies show as much as 90% less road salt can be used without significantly affecting winter road safety. Soil Conservation Banning phosphate detergents Sewage Treatment Remediation
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- Sewage Treatment Rationale More than 500 pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and parasites can travel from human or animal excrement through water. Natural Processes In many areas, outdoor urination and defecation is the norm. When population densities are low, natural processes can quickly eliminate waste. Artificial Wetlands Are a Low Cost Method Natural water purification Effluent can be used to irrigate crops or raise fish for human consumption.
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- Municipal Sewage Treatment Primary Treatment - Physical separation of large solids from the waste stream. Secondary Treatment - Biological degradation of dissolved organic compounds. Effluent from primary treatment transferred into trickling bed, or aeration tank Effluent from secondary treatment is usually disinfected (chlorinated) before release into nearby waterway. Tertiary Treatment - Removal of plant nutrients (nitrates and phosphates) from secondary effluent. Chemicals, or natural wetlands. In many US cities, sanitary sewers are connected to storm sewers. Heavy storms can overload the system, causing by-pass dumping of raw sewage and toxic runoff directly into watercourses.
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- Sewage Treatment
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- Water Remediation Containment methods confine liquid wastes in place, or cap surface with impermeable layer to divert water away from the site. Extraction techniques are used to pump out polluted water for treatment. Oxidation, reduction, neutralization, or precipitation. Living organisms can also be used effectively to break down polluted waters.
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- Clean Water Act (1972) Goal was to return all U.S. surface waters to "fishable and swimmable" conditions. For Point Sources, Discharge Permits and Best Practicable Control Technology are required. Set zero discharge for 126 priority toxic pollutants. Areas of Contention Draining or Filling of Wetlands Many consider this taking of private land. Un-funded Mandates State or local governments must spend monies not repaid by Congress. Part 9: WATER LEGISLATION
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