Environmental Pollution Study Guide

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Where do you look when you want to know where pollutants in a lake are coming from? -The watershed and what is going on inside it (watershed approach)

What does the Clean Water Act primarily deal with?
- point source pollution

The Clean Water Act regulates what three categories?
- Conventional
- Non conventional
- Toxic

What are the conventional pollutants?
- The more common, ubiquitous in the environment that are typically in larger quantities

What are the Non conventional pollutants? Examples?
- less common. Examples: NH4, salt, heat, colors, Al, phenols

What is the largest category of pollutants?
- Conventional

What are the 6 categories of conventional pollutants?
- Biochemical oxygen demand, suspended solids, pH, Nutrients, oil and grease, pathogenic microorganisms

What is biochemical oxygen demand?
- The amount of oxygen microorganisms need to break down the organic matter in the water (this is why they aerate the tanks at the wastewater treatment plant)

What happens in the water if the organic matter goes up?
- The oxygen is going to go down, and organisms are going to start to die.

Where does excessive organic matter come from in water?
- Animal waste, algal blooms (when they die), wastewater treatment plant overflow, food and paper processing, a fish kill.

Generally what are suspended solids?
- Soil

What is the primary source of suspended solids?
- Agricultural erosion and street runoff.

What nutrients are the most common water pollutants and what is the biggest source? - Nitrogen and phosphorus, and agricultural runoff.

What are pathogenic microorganisms?
- The things that are going to make us sick
What is the primary source of pathogenic microorganisms?
- Animal waste; septic, sewage, livestock

What are the two types of sewage systems?
- Combined and Separated

What is a combined sewage system?
- Street runoff, businesses, and household waste goes to the same treatment plant.

What is a separated sewage system?
- Waste from homes and businesses go to a treatment plant and street runoff goes directly into the water.

What would be good ways of dealing with street runoff?
- Rain barrels and gardens, buffer zones and redirecting it into a wetland or constructed wetland, or even a holding pond.

What is a good alternative water treatment method for street runoff? - Create/diverge water to a buffer zone like a wetland. If you slow the water down, the solids will fall out, the oil and the grease would get trapped in the soil, the nutrients would be taken up by plants, so the water will be a lot cleaner coming out of that wetland.

What’s a good way to prevent agriculture runoff?
- Buffer zones between the fields and water (atrozene needs a 60 ft buffer zone). Also better agriculture methods like no till, strip cropping, cover crops, integrated pest management, trying to decrease the amount of pesticides we use, decreasing the amount of fertilizers (cover crops will help with that), smart tractors that have the GIS in it so you can apply fertilizers based on variations and fertility throughout the fields.

Why can rivers recover from a pulse of pollutants faster than a lake and much faster than groundwater? - It has to do with turnover, it’s the recirculation of the water and the amount of water.

What happens if water levels fall really low in terms of pollutants? - Water flushing and flow decreases

Where does groundwater pollution come from?
- Any buried chemical containment device that leaks like a gas station or a business, landfills, agriculture, bad septics

Why does atrozene need such a big buffer zone?
- Because it moves through the soil so quickly.

Why do we undervalue clean fresh water?
- It is inexpensive.

What’s the percentage of clean, fresh water on the planet? - 0.014%

What is happening to the supply and demand of freshwater? Why? - Demand is going up and supply is going down. This is because...
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