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39 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
What is water pollution and water quality?
Water pollution refers to degredation of water quality.
Water quality is the biological, chemical and physical characteristics of water and its general composition. These attributes affect water's ability to sustain life and its suitability for human consumption.
What are some examples of water pollutants?
Water pollutants - heavy metals, sediment, heat, certain radioactive isotopes, fecal coliform bacteria, phosphorus, nitrogen, sodium and other useful elements. bacteria and viruses
What standards have been established to measure water quality?
Microbiological organisms, volatile organic chemicals, herbicides, organic chemicals, inorganics (arsenic, lead etc.)
Who establishes these standards?
Standards are established by the US environmental protection agency.
How is water quality monitored?
Water is routinely measured for it's quality. through testing, particularly at discharge points into surface water.
Define, describe, and explain the significance for water quality of each of the following:
Dissolved Oxygen (DO) and Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)
The amount of oxygen required for biochemical decomposition processes. A body of water with low oxygen content is a poor environment for organisms.
Waterborne pathogenic microbes and fecal coliform bacteria
Standard measure and indicator of disease potential. High levels of these - the less safe the water is.
Nutrients (N, P)
Both of these cause water polution problems. High levels increase the growth of algae and bacteria. Excess bacteria and algea affect oxygens levels for the fish and other acquatic organisms. They block light to deeper waters.
Oil (Exxon Valdez)
Oil hurts organisms in the water. Exxon Valdese was responsible for a big oil spill in 1989 in Prince William Sound.
rock and mineral fragments that range from gravel particles > 2mm to finer sand, silt , clay and colloidal particles. More sediment chokes streams, fills bodies of water, buries vegetation and reduces the quality of the water resource.
Which parameters are most important in determining water quality?
What is eutrophication?
The process by which a body of water develops a high concentration of nutrients stimulates algae and bacteria growth.
What causes eutrophication?
Eutrophication is caused by human processes that add nutrients to a body of water.
What is cultural eutrophication?
Hhuman processes that add nutrients to a body of water.
Know the meaning of the following:
eutrophic- is a natural high concentration of the chemicals required for life.
oligotrophic is relatively low concentration of chemicals required for life.
Know the meaning of the following:
phytoplankton/ algae/algal bloom
Phytoplankton are microscopic plants that live in the ocean. Algae - simple plants - capture energy through photosynthesis but they don't have flowers or leaves etc that characterize high plants. Algal bloom: is a relatively rapid increase in the population of (usually) phytoplankton algae in an aquatic system.
What is acid mine drainage and what are the environmental effects?
Acid mine drainage refers to water with a high concentration of sulfuric acid that drains from mines. Environmental effects It contaminates bodies of water making them unsafe.
What is the difference between point and nonpoint sources of pollution?
Nonpoint source of pollution is intermittent and is influences by factors such as landuse, climate, hydrology, topography, native vegetation and geology. Point sources are distinct and confined such as pipe sources from industrial sites that empty into streams and rivers.
How can these sources be reduced?
By more testing and taking precautionary measures.
What happened to the Cuyahoga River in 1969?
It was so polluted that sparks from a train ignited the river surface and caught it on fire.
What are the common sources of groundwater pollution and how is this problem being addressed?
Common sources of groundwater pollution are gas stations, septic systems, dumping of household chemicals. Greater restrictions on things like underground tanks.
Leachate is the liquid produced when water percolates through any permeable material. It can contain either dissolved or suspended material, or usually both.
Leaking Underground Storage Tanks (LUSTs)
Steel tanks placed underground to store gasoline etc. The average life expectancy of a steel tank was 30 to 50 years depending on the rate of corrosion of the steel. Since the early 1980s, corrosion of steel tanks, along with faulty installation and operation, have resulted in nearly ubiquitous groundwater contamination by gasoline.
saltwater intrusion
Saltwater intrusion is a natural process that occurs in virtually all coastal aquifers. It consists in salt water (from the sea) flowing inland in freshwater aquifers.
How is wastewater treated?
Septic tank disposal systems and centralized water treatment plants.
septic tank systems
Waste goes into septic tank then to a draining field and seeps into the soil.
primary treatment, secondary treatment, advanced treatment, disinfection
primary treatment is when incoming raw sewage goes through filters, grit chamber and a sedimentation tank. Secondary treatment is when the water dgoes through an aeration tank and another sedimentation tanks. Advanced treatment - phosphates and nitrates, heavy metals can alll be removed.
constructed wetlands
Constructed wetlands are marshes built to treat contaminated water. Can treat storm runoff,

Constructed wetlands purify the water that flows through them. Compared to conventional treatment methods, they tend to be simple, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly. agricultural and mine runoff.
Can wastewater be recycled and reused?
What are some of the problems with wastewater reuse?
Some problems of waste water reuse. Inadequate treament facilities can deliver contminated water to the drinking supplies. It can spread disease causing viruses.
How can wetlands be used to treat wastewater?
See contructed wetlands.
What are some of the landmark laws and legislation that have been enacted to protect water?
Clean Water Act
Safe Drinking Water Act
Water Quality Act
Clean Water Act
The clean water act provide billions of dollars in federal grants for sewage treatment plans, encourage inovative technology and alternative water treatment.
Safe Drinking Water Act
Safe drinking water act provides all americans with safe drinking water, sets contaminate levels for dangerous substances and pathogens.
Water Quality Act
From where and by what processes is safe drinking water produced?
Safe drinking water is produced from the water table through pumping.
Specifically, how does OWASA provide Chapel Hill and Carrboro with safe drinking water?
OWAS gets water from Kane creek and University lake. Contaminates are cleaned out from the water.
Specific North Carolina water quality issues:
North Carolina River Basins: special note Neuse and Cape Fear Rivers
Noth Carolina water qality issues. Can be from contaminates that are spread locally inland out to the Atlantic ocean.
The “Bay of Pigs”
single celled organism that seems to flourish in polluted waters . After Hurricane Floyg - it contaminated water with dead pis and pig waiste.