“U.S. Department of Health Education and Welfare defines water pollution as ‘The adding to water of any substance, or the changing of water’s physical and chemical characteristics in any way which interferes with its use of legitimate purposes’” (Rana, 2006, p. 41). Domestic, industrial, and agricultural wastewaters are the three main ways that harmful chemicals end up in our water bodies. Daugton (2007) wrote, “of the major chemical synthesis industries, the pharmaceutical industry produces the most waste…per unit of actual product” (p. 15). Pharmaceuticals such as painkillers, anti depressants, and birth control that pollute our water generally come from the domestic and industrial wastes, and agricultural waste is mostly considered to be from pesticides and fertilizers. The domestic waste problem comes from the disposal of pharmaceuticals into the sewage system by excretions including urine and feces and every so often sweat and rinsing in the shower. The way this works is after ingesting the drug, your body absorbs everything needed from it and what is left are the residues, which “include unmetabolized parent drug, bioactive metabolites, and inactive metabolites” that make their way to the rivers and streams (Daughton, 2007, p. 18). In addition to that, many people just toss out or flush old and unwanted medications. Industrial wastes from factories and manufacturing companies produce even more pollution on top of all the liquid and sludge effluents being let out straight into the surface water. Occasionally liquid effluents will be used for irrigation in agriculture, which when combined with the pesticides in the soil will runoff
into a nearby body of water producing higher toxic levels than they would individually. Agricultures contribution to pollution is from pesticides and fertilizers that are sprayed on their crops. Those eventually end up in the aquatic system by means of irrigation and rainfall.
Stream water is not the only place in which our contaminated wastewater ends up. A good portion of the chemicals also ends up in groundwater usually through soil due to rainfall or irrigation. Depending on where you live you may or may not have poor sewage pipes and drainage systems that leak into the ground water. Every so often there will be sewage overflow resulting in leakage into the ground. Even though the majority percentages for pesticides are found in stream water, we still must take precautions in monitoring the groundwater. Table 1 of my graphs illustrates how extreme the percentage of pesticides found in different areas sampling...