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69 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
What percent of the earth's water is freshwater?
How do we define freshwater (vs. saltwater)?
Freshwater contains less than 100 ppm salt.
What are some of the major impacts of a water shortage?
Water shortages increase: conflicts, public health problems, reduce food production, endanger the environment.

**in dryer regions of the world, demands for freshwater creates conflict between human and natural ecosystems
Describe the hydrologic cycle.
Water rises into the atmosphere by evaporation & transpiration and is purified...Water leaves the atmosphere by condensation & precipitation.
Which is more likely to be polluted, surface water or ground water?
Surface water
What is the mountain effect?
When winds hit mountain ranges,air picks up humidity and loses moisture as it cools going up the mountain...This causes deserts to form on the leeward side of the mountain.
What is meant by water infiltration?
As the water percolates through the soil, debris, and bacteria are filtered out
What are two types of water discharge, and how does this relate to surface water?
1) Seep- water flows out over a wide area.
2) Spring- Water exits in a significant flow from a relatively small opening.

*Seeps and springs feed streams, lakes, and rivers.

**Ground water eventually becomes surface water and begins to evaporate again
What are 3 major human impacts on water?
changes the earth's surface, pollution, withdrawls for use.
Describe some of the ways that pollution of the water cycle occurs.
-Water cycle permeates the entire biosphere.
-Wastes are inevitably introduced into the water cycle.
-Smokes & fumes
-fertilizers and pesticides
What are the major categories of users of freshwater, and how much water is used by each type of user?
-Irrigation and agricultural uses, 700 gal. per day per person.
-Electrical power production, 600 gal. per day per person
-Industrial use, 370 gal. per day per person.
-Residential use, 100 gal. per day per person
What is the number one use of water world-wide?
What is the maximum percentage of the average flow of a river that can be taken without facing future shortages and other problems?
30% annually
What are the four environmental effects of overdrawing groundwater?
-falling water tables and depletion due to overuse for crop production
-diminishing surface waters
-land subsidence and sinkholes
-salt water intrusion
Approximately what percent of water comes from groundwater sources?
Describe the four steps in water purification.
-Alum is added to water to coagulate suspended particles
-These particles settle out and are removed
-Water is then filtered & treated before it is piped for use
-Treatment usually consists of chlorination.
What is the primary consideration in determining the amount of water purification?
Quality of the source
What are 3 problems in water treatment?

*Of the 3, which is most likely to be a problem?
-Failure to kill microbes (fecal coliform test to monitor)
-Chemical overdoses (High fluoride or high chlorine)
-Chemical residuals (Disinfection by-products)

What is used to determine if sewage contamination is present in drinking water?
fecal coliform test
What are some of the concerns regarding drinking water in the 3rd world?
-access to safe drinking water is limited.
-less than 50% have safe supplies
-this can lead to diseases such as cholera.
Discuss the needs and prospects for obtaining more water.
growing populations create an increasing demand for irrigation & industrial/municipal use.
List 3 ways of reducing water demands.
-Drip irrigation systems
-improvements in municipal systems: retrofitting plumbing devices, xeriscaping (landscape with desert plants & rocks), use gray water on plants, treat sewer water.
-Desalting water (not practical)
-reusing water in industry (requires them to treat the water to improve impurities)
What is water pollution and what are 2 types of water pollution?
Water pollution is any chemical, biological, or physical change in water quality that has a harmful effect.

-point source: factories, sewage treatment plants, oil tankers.
-nonpoint source: cannot be traced to a single source.
Describe the different zones when pollution is added to a river.
* clean zone

*decomposition zone

*septic zone

*recovery zone

If no additional pollution sources are present, the river will revert to a clean zone
Describe the effect of pollution on lakes:

What is oligotrophic?
What is eutrophic?
Lakes cannot dilute pollutants as quickly as a flowing stream or river

As a result, lakes become high in nutrients and algae

*Oligotrophic: non nutrient water “the perfect lake”

*Eutrophic: clean water to an algae filled water
What is the clean water act of 1972?
Aimed at controlling the discharge of pollutants into: navigable waters, rivers, lakes, streams, & wetlands.
-Serious attempt through federal regulations to control: polluting discharges that enter waterways, interstate waters, waters that are associated with commerce in the U.S.
What substance was controlled in the Water Quality Act of 1987?
What is the most important purpose of municipal sewage treatment?
Protect our health
What are the four steps in wastewater purification/treatment?
-Preliminary treatment (for debris/grit)
-Primary treatment (for particles)
-Secondary treatment (for colloidal & dissolved)
-tertiary treatment (cleansing of specific chemicals)
What are four categories of pollutants in raw sewage?
*debris and grit (everything from pebbles to needles ands syringes)

*particulate organic materials

*colloidal and dissolved organic chemicals (smaller than #2)

*dissolved inorganic chemicals (nail polish remover) (most difficult to remove)
What are the different levels of sewage treatment?
*Preliminary treatment removes: debris/grit

*Primary treatment: particles

*Secondary treatment (includes biological nutrient removal and disinfections)

-colloidal and dissolved

*Tertiary treatment (this is cleansing of specific chemicals)
What is the level that most municipal systems reach?
*Tertiary treatment (this is cleansing of specific chemicals)

(Most municipal treatment plans in the US do not provide this type of treatment)
What are 4 sludge treatment options?
*Anaerobic digestion- air tight tank

*Composting- mix with woodchips- sit on field-cook

*Pasteurization and Drying- cook it raw

*lime stabilization- lime mix with sludge- high pH, good to treat acid rain
What are examples of 5 alternative treatment systems?
*using effluents for irrigation

*reconstructed wetlands systems

*artificial wetland systems

*greenhouse wetland systems

*overland flow systems
Describe a typical septic treatment system.
-Onsite wastewater treatment system.
-used for disposal of wastewater from bathrooms, kitchens, & laundries.

-system set up: septic tank, soil absorbtion field or sand filter, disinfection
What kinds of toxic materials get into wastewater treatment system that cannot be removed using secondary treatment?
Synthetic organic pollutants (pesticides, cleaning fluids, solvents)

What was the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974?
EPA sets max contaminant levels for specified pollutants found in drinking water.
Prescribed schedule for monitoring and testing treated water

Report water quality results to appropriate state agencies
What is storm water and why is it a problem?
Water that runs off of roofs, streets when it rains.

fertilizers, pesticides, oil get into storm water.
When and where is industrial pretreatment required?
Industrial wastewater usually must be detoxified before entering the sewage system

Begin by identifying sources and types of pollutants that can be harmful
What was the purpose of the Safe Drinking Water Act?
EPA sets max contaminant levels for specified pollutants found in drinking water.
Prescribed schedule for monitoring and testing treated water

Report water quality results to appropriate state agencies
What is a brownfield?
polluted land that is often abandoned and is difficult to sell or use.
Describe the process of total product life cycle.
Raw materials are minded, transported, refined, transported, manufactured into a product, transported, used, and disposed of

Accidents may occur
What are bioaccumulation and biomagnification?

-the accumulation of higher and higher concentrations of potentially toxic chemicals in organisms

*Biomagnifications- occurs through several levels of the food chain

-this is why trace amounts of contaminants can concentrate in our bodies
What is groundwater remediation and what is the problem with it?
Program that involves cleaning up contaminated groundwater sources
What was the Superfund and what is one of the problems with it?
EPA's largest ongoing program
-provides funds for identification and cleanup of toxic sites throughout US.
-Unfortunately, many sites have not been cleaned...much money is spent on legal costs.
What was the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976?
*cornerstone legislation designed to prevent unsafe or illegal disposal of wastes on land
*EPA must identify hazardous waste

*sets standards for hazardous waste
*permits required for hazardous waste generators
What was the Underground Storage Tank (UST) standard?
Requires strict monitoring of fuel supplies, tanks, and piping so that leaks maybe are detect early- dig up and clean out
What are the Worker Right to Know and the Community Right to Know standards?
OSHA regulations require business and industries to make information regarding hazardous materials and suitable protective equipment available to all employees
What are three approaches to hazardous waste prevention?
Pollution avoidance

Responsible care

Green products
What is Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)?
Total of all materials thrown away from homes and commercial establishments

Also known as (trash, refuse, garbage)
How do we dispose of MSW?
Landfill and Combustion
The amount of waste has grown steadily due to what?
increase of population

*changing lifestyles

*use of disposable materials

*excessive packaging
What are the most common types of MSW?
Paper accounts for- 34.2%

Yard waste is at 13.1%

Plastic accounts for 11.9%

Metal accounts for 7.6%

The rest is made up of glass, wood, etc (5.2%, 5.7%, and 3.4%)
What are 4 problems with landfills?
Lechate generation and groundwater contamination

Methane production- toxic soup- bad if in groundwater (ground contamination)

Incomplete decomposition- plastic takes a long time to breakdown

Settling- things break down, ground beneath is not strong
What are the advantages and disadvantages of incineration?
*weight of trash is reduced by 70% and volume is reduced by 90%

*toxic and hazardous substances are easier to handle

*no change in collection is needed

*combustion facilities generate electricity

*left with ash and melted metals

*trash does not burn cleanly- have to burn natural gas

*left with ash and melted metals

*combustion facilities are expensive

*combustion ash is loaded with metals and other hazardous substances- pay extra

*wastes both energy and materials- better to recycle

*community solid waste options are limited

Ex. Trash people not getting enough trash cause environmental group doing good in recycling
What percentage of waste could be recycled?
What are the two kinds of recycling?
*pre-consumer waste- scraps and cuttings from paper and printing plants

*post-consumer waste- true recycling of materials to make the same material
How do we encourage recycling?
simplified system of collection

Pay as you throw
What is composting?
Natural biological decomposition of organic matter in the presence of air
What is Integrated Waste Management?
Waste reduction (best)

Reuse (2nd best)

Recycling (3rd best)

Waste disposal (worst option)
Explain the difference between a hazard and a risk.
Hazard: is the potential of something to do harm- it may be chemical, biological, physical, or cultural

Risk- is the probability of some harmful event occurring
Hazards fall into which 4 categories?
Burn explode, radioactive, toxic
Can all hazards be avoided?
What is the difference between a toxic and a hazardous substance?
Hazardous chemicals: cause harm by being flammable, damaging skin or lungs, interfering with oxygen uptake (carbon monoxide) and allergic reactions

Toxins: Is one type of hazardous chemical
What is an LD 50?
A measure of how much of the chemical will kill one half of the test animals. The smaller the LD50 the more toxic is the chemical (lethal dose- 50%)
What are mutagens, teratogens, or carcinogens?
Mutagens: are substances that cause mutations or changes in the DNA

Teratogens: are substances that cause birth defects

Carcinogens: are substances that cause cancer
What are biological hazards?
pathogenic bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozons, worms

*can be nontrasmissible or transmissible
What is malaria, and how is malaria spread?
vectors (like flies and mosquitoes) are non human transmitters of disease

Spread from sick person to another by mosquitoes
How do we prevent biological hazards?
reduce overcrowding, unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation, inadequate health care systems, malnutrition and poverty

Increase funding for disease monitoring: sharply reduce antibiotic use to prevent evolution of resistant organisms

Protect biodiversity as a means of reducing disease spread

Increase research