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Environmental Chemistry Option

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1 Environmental Chemistry Option

2 E1.1 - Pollution •Pollution refers to changes in the equilibrium (or balance) of biological and non-biological systems, as a result of human activity •Although many so-called pollutants are substances that occur naturally, such as ozone or carbon dioxide, human activity has led to an increase in the concentrations of such substances, which upsets the delicate balance of natural cycles •The atmosphere consists of a relatively thin layer of gas surrounding the Earth. (to 100km) By comparison, the earth is 6400km in radius

3 E1.1 – Layers of the Atmosphere
•The atmosphere consists of four layers, separated by a change in temperature gradient Troposphere -Most of human activity takes place here -Up to km -90% of matter in the atmosphere Stratosphere Mesosphere Thermosphere

4 E1.1 - Troposphere •In the troposphere temperature falls with increasing height, so that at a height of 12 km the temperature is about -55oC •This temperature gradient allows convection currents (warm gases rise, cool gases sink) causing mixing in the atmosphere pollutants. •Pollutants at ground level quickly spread throughout the troposphere (not true in stratosphere). •Also, horizontal movement of air masses (wind) causes lateral dispersion of pollutants as well.

5 E1.1 – Atmospheric Pollutants
•As discussed, many gases we consider pollutants, also occur naturally (CO, CO2, etc) •Anthropogenic, or man-made, output is often not even a large proportion of the worldwide total but can cause issues due to high concentrations in localized areas. •Many atmospheric pollutants arise from the combustion of fossil fuels in motor vehicles or in power stations. This effect has the potential to be minimized

6 E1.1 – Sources of Pollutants

7 E1.2 – Reduction of Pollution
•In the internal combustion engine, hydrocarbon fuels are mixed with air, injected into a cylinder and ignited with a spark •The resultant explosion forces the piston to move and is converted to the rotation of the crankshaft, which in turn drives the wheels of the vehicle •We can have complete, partial, and incomplete combustion of the hydrocarbon, ideally it would be complete as follows: 2C8H O2 → 16CO2 + 18H2O  Ratio of air/fuel (mass) is approx 15:1

8 E1.2 – Incomplete Combustion
•When the ratio of air/fuel (mass) is less than 15:1, the mixture is said to be ‘rich’ and incomplete combustion ensues •This results in the formation of carbon monoxide C8H O2 → 3CO2 + 5CO + 9H2O These unburnt hydrocarbon molecules (CO) are called volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) from exhaust •A very poorly designed (or maintained) engine may emit solid particles (soot) from the exhaust (rich) C3H8 + 2O2 → 3C + 4H2O

9 E1.2 – Reaction with Nitrogen
•When the air/fuel ratio is increased the mixture is said to be ‘lean’. A lean mixture will not produce carbon monoxide •When a mixture becomes ‘lean’ (excess O2) the likelihood that oxygen will react with nitrogen in the air (78%) increases. •Under extreme conditions (like in an engine) the two elements can combine to form nitrogen oxides NOx which leads to ‘misfire’ in the engine (known as knocking) because the fuel ignites before the spark

10 E1.2 – Rich vs Lean •An engine that runs ‘rich’ will produce a lot of power, but with poor fuel consumption and high emissions of CO and VOC’s •An engine that runs ‘lean’ will produce less power, less CO and VOC’s, consume less fuel, but may produce more nitrogen oxides. When mixture is too lean, misfiring causes rise in VOC production N2 + O2 → 2NO• (remember the radical?) 2NO• + O2 → 2NO2 Localized in urban areas, causing health effects and contribute to the formation of acid rain

11 E1.2 – Catalytic Converter
•Three way catalytic converter is placed in exhaust systems of cars to treat the exhaust gases •Consists of a fine mesh or honeycomb of ceramic material or metal, coated with a thin layer of finely divided platinum, rhodium, or palladium (these T-metals act as heterogeneous catalysts) •Three way refers to: 1.Reduction of nitrogen monoxide to nitrogen 2.Oxidation of unburnt hydrocarbons to carbon dioxide and water vapor 3.Oxidation of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide

12 E1.2 – Catalytic Converter
•First, gases pass over metal catalyst, reacting NO and CO 2NO + 2CO → N2 + 2CO2 •Then, pass over oxidation catalyst (rhodium). If a proper ratio of air/fuel exists, there is proper O2 remaining for this: 2CO + O2 → 2CO2

13 E1.2 – Sulfur as Pollutant •SO2 (sulfur dioxide) is an important primary pollutant. - It’s a pungent smelling toxic gas - damages the respiratory system and may lead to asthma attacks. - Highly soluble in water - Contributes to formation of acid rain

14 E1.2 – Primary/Secondary Pollutants
•Primary pollutants are emitted directly from the sources and remain unchanged once they enter the environment (particulate matter, inorganic gases, SO2, etc) •Secondary pollutants are formed in the atmosphere by chemical reactions involving primary pollutants and gases normally present in the air. •Most man-made sulfur dioxide emissions arise from the sulfur that exists as an impurity in coal which is burned extensively in many power plants

15 E1.2 – Sulfur reactions •Sulfur is oxidized during the combustion process S + O2 → SO2 •Sulfur dioxide dissolves and reacts with water to produce sulfurous acid, H2SO3 SO2 + H2O → H2SO3 •Sulfur dioxide also undergoes photochemical oxidation in the atmosphere. This occurs in water droplets in which SO2 is dissolved, and is catalyzed by particulates (soot, etc) 2SO2 + O2 → 2SO3 •Sulfur trioxide dissolves and reacts with water to produce sulfuric acid SO3 + H2O → H2SO4

16 E1.2 – Reducing SO2 Emissions
•There are three methods by which sulfur dioxide emissions from power stations can be limited The coal or oil can be refined to remove sulfur before combustion Fluidized bed combustion (FBC) reduces the amount of sulfur oxides resulting from combustion Flue gas desulfurization (FGD) removes sulfur dioxide from the exhaust gases before they leave the power station flue (chimney)

17 E1.2 – Fluidized Bed Combustion
•This process suspends the solid coal on an upward flowing jet of air during combustion •Coal dust is mixed with limestone powder (CaCO3) and blasted into the furnace with a jet of air. The jet of air suspends the solid particle so they flow like a fluid CaCO3 → CaO + CO2 2CaO + 2SO2 + O2 → 2CaSO4 •The Calcium sulfate can then be removed by electrostatic precipitation

18 E1.2 – Flue Gas Desulfurization
•Sulfur dioxide emissions can be removed from the flue gases by passing the gases through a suspension of calcium carbonate and calcium oxide in water. Product is calcium sulfite CaCO3 + SO2 → CaSO3 + CO2 CaO + SO2 → CaSO3 •Calcium sulfite is then further oxidized, producing calcium sulfate 2CaSO3 + O2 → 2CaSO4

19 E1.2 – Particulate Emissions
•Particulate emission refers to the generation of small particles of solid or liquid. Some such pollutants are visible to the naked eye, but most are too small to be seen. Metal particles Metal oxide particles Fly ash Asbestos dust Organic particles Aerosol mist

20 E1.2 – Fly Ash •Fly ash is a combination of very fine carbon, hydrocarbon and metal oxide particles released during the combustion of fossil fuels •Most fly ash is filtered out in flues, but some very fine particles escape into the atmosphere

21 E1.2 – Removal of Particulates
•Via sedimentation which relies on letting heavy particles settle out under gravity, or by filtration, in which simple fabric filters capture particles. •Most effective method is electrostatic precipitation – which has two sections Ionization section, consists of a mesh with thin wires, carrying an electrical charge. Flue gas passes through this mesh, causing any solid or liquid particles to acquire charge Collection section, consists of metal plates carrying the opposite charge. Particulates are attracted to the plates, and stick. Plates are shaken at intervals to dislodge the build-up layer of particles, then they are removed.


23 Enviro Chemsitry Part 2 – Acid Deposition

24 Acid Deposition refers to the process by which acidic particles leave the atmosphere. The most well known example is acid rain but acidic substances may also be removed by snow and fog, as well as by dry processes involving gases and solid particles. Production of SO2 (as discussed in Part 1) aids in this process

25 E2.1 – Carbonic Acid •Natural rain water is acidic, with a pH around 5.6 •The acidity of rain is a result of CO2 naturally present in the atmosphere •When CO2 is dissolved in water it’s referred to as carbonic acid (H2CO3) but only a very small amount actually exists as a solution H2O + CO2 → H2CO3 •Carbonic acid molecules immediately dissociate in water to form hydrogencarbonate ions, HCO3-, and hydronium ions, H3O+ H2CO3 + H2O → HCO3- + H3O+

26 E2.1 – Wet Deposition •The most important sources of acid rain are the sulfur oxides produced in power stations •When sulfur oxides dissolve and react in rain water, solutions of sulfuric acids are formed (as discussed in E.1) SO2 + H2O → H2SO3 SO3 + H2O → H2SO4 Another route to sulfuric acid is a gas-phase reaction of a sulfur dioxide molecule with a hydroxyl radical, OH•, to give sulfuric acid SO2 + OH• → HSO3• + • OH → H2SO4

27 E2.1 – Wet Deposition •Nitrogen Oxides also contribute to acid rain. Formed in vehicle engines: HO• + NO• + M → HNO2 + M M represents the ‘third body’ which is an inert molecule which absorbs some of the excess energy of the reaction (in the atmosphere M is generally N2). •NO2 is formed by the oxidation of NO in the atmosphere and reacts with HO• HO• + • NO2 + M → HNO3 + M

28 E2.1 – Wet Deposition •These acids may be deposited in places other than water, such as snow and fog. •Fog is a particular problem for high-altitude forests •The lower temperature at high altitudes causes water vapor to condense out of the atmosphere, forming a moist ‘blanket’ of acidic fog which surrounds trees.

29 E2.1 – Dry Deposition •Dry deposition refers to acidic substances such as gases and particulates leaving the atmosphere in the absence of precipitation (without rain or fog) •Heavy particulate particles may settle out of the atmosphere under gravity. •Acidic gases such as sulfur dioxide may have directly harmful effects on the environment without first being dissolved in rain water.

30 E2.2 – Environmental Effects
•Acid deposition effects the environment in 5 ways 1.It affects the pH of lakes/rivers, which impacts organisms living there 2.It affects the availability of metal ions in soil, which goes on to affect nearby plant life and surface water 3.It directly affects plants 4.It affects buildings and other materials 5.It directly affects human health

31 E2.2 – Impact(1): Lakes/Rivers
•Below a pH of 5.5 -Some species of fish (salmon) are killed -Algae, zooplankton, which are food for larger organisms -Prevents hatching of fish eggs •Fish are also killed when aluminum, leached from the soil by acid rain, enters lakes and rivers. •The function of fish gills is affected by Al, leaving the fish unable to extract oxygen from the water

32 E2.2 – Impact(2): Soil •The pH of soil is a key factor which species of plants will grow •Aluminum (naturally present in soil) forms insoluble hydroxide (Al(OH3) at high pH values. •When pH falls due to acid rain, Al becomes soluble and is released into soil. •Other ions (Mg, Ca, etc) which are essential for plant growth are washed away in the same fashion. 2Al(OH)3 + 2H2SO4 → Al2(SO4)3 + 3H2O

33 E2.2 – Impact(3): Plants •Beyond damaging soil, and lowering available nutrients, acid rain can also damage plants directly •Acid deposition can damage leaf chlorophyll, turning leaves brown and reducing the photosynthetic ability of the plant

34 E2.2 – Impact(4): Buildings
•Limestone and marble are forms of CaCO3 which can be eroded by acid rain: CaCO3 + H2SO4 → CaSO4 + H2O + CO2 •Metallic structures (mainly steel, Fe, Al) are readily attacked. The sulfur dioxide gas may attack directly as follows: Fe + SO2 + O2 → FeSO4 •Sulfuric acid may attack Fe as well: Fe + H2SO4 → FeSO4 + H2 Fe + 2H+ → Fe2+ + H2

35 E2.2 – Counteract Acid Dep. •Limit (lower) the amount of acidic substances released to the atmosphere NOx are removed from vehicle emissions with a catalytic converter SO2 emissions from coal power plants can be decreased in several ways (scrubbers, etc) •Addition of compounds that will aid in neutralizing acidic effects Addition of limestone (CaCO3) Addition of calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2)

36 Topic E – Enviro Chemistry Part 3 – Greenhouse Effect

37 E3.1 – Greenhouse Effect •Greenhouse gases allow the passage of incoming solar short-wavelength radiation but absorb the longer-wavelength radiation from the Earth. Some of the absorbed radiation is re-radiated back to Earth. •TOK: Some people question the reality of climate change and question the motives of scientists who have “exaggerated” the problem. How do we assess the evidence collected and the models used to predict the impact of human activities?

38 •The greenhouse effect is the cause of the phenomenon of global warming in which the average temperature of Earth rises, causing various environmental disasters •The greenhouse effect itself is absolutely necessary for the Earth to regulate its temperature at a habitable level. •Humans are thought to impact this delicate balance by disrupting the natural equilibrium in the atmosphere, causing the planet to become warmer

39 Earths “Average” Temp. • Average temperature in the troposphere 14-15oC Maintained bc the energy incident on Earth (from sun), is balanced by the energy leaving Earth (to space) • Most radiation from the sun is in the visible region, also along with “near UV” and near “IR radiation” • Only 47% of energy directed at the earth is absorbed, remainder is reflected back to space • The peak radiation is 500nm and is not absorbed by atmospheric gases so is absorbed and radiated by the earth to the rest of the atmosphere

40 •When Earth absorbs energy, surface temperature rises, and energy flows from hot (earth) to atmosphere (cold), etc •Once energy is re-radiated from the earth, it’s no longer in the visible region, it’s wavelength is much longer and in the infrared region If all this energy released into space instead, our average atmospheric temp would be -20oC Gases such as H2O and CO2 help to re-radiate energy in the atmosphere and toward the earth as well. It can be seen that an increase in [IR absorbing gases] such as CO2 and H2O results in a decreased amount of energy escaping from the Earth by moving toward the surface

41 E3.2 – Factors for GH Gases •A contribution of a greenhouse gas to the warming of the atmosphere depends on three factors: 1.The abundance of the gas in the atmosphere 2.The ability of the gas to absorb infrared radiation 3.The lifetime of the gas molecules in the atmosphere, before being removed by chemical processes The 2nd and 3rd factors are often combined to give a figure called the Global Warming Potential (GWP)

42 E3.2 – Greenhouse Gases •Major Contributors as Greenhouse Gases Water vapor, H2O Carbon dioxide, CO2 Methane, CH4 Nitrous Oxide, N2O Chlorofluorocarbons, CFC’s Ozone, O3

43 GH Gases – H2O •Most important GH Gas, has a GWP of 0.1 •Percentage of H2O(g) in atmosphere 1-4%, ranges •Absorbs IR over a broad range of frequencies •Increased atmospheric temperatures lead to more rapid evaporation of the oceans, and larger capacity of the air to carry water vapor (humidity) •Estimates of H2O’s contribution to Global Warming is 36%-75%

44 GH Gases – CO2 •Percentage of CO2 in atmosphere is 0.035%
•CO2 has a GWP of 1. More efficient than water in absorbing IR radiation •Absorbs IR in a “window” that H2O does not •[CO2] rise due to the following human activities: Combustion of fossil fuels Manufacture of cement (CaCO3 → CaO + CO2) Deforestation in tropics, lower rate of photosynthesis, meaning CO2 is entering atmosphere more quickly than removed

45 GH Gases – CH4 •Percentage in atmosphere CH4 = 1.7x10-4 •It’s GWP is 25 (compare to H2O=0.1 and CO2=1) •Estimates say 4%-9% contribution to Global Warmíng •It is removed from the atmosphere relatively quickly •Formed when cellulose (plant fiber) decomposes anaerobically via bacteria (CH2O)n → CH4 + CO2 •Occurs on large scale as a result of human actions: - Rice cultivation (paddy fields) - Fermentation of grass in cows, and rotting manure - Leaking gas pipelines - Fermentation of organic materials in covered landfills

46 GH Gases – N2O •GWP of 296. It’s less efficient at absorbing IR than CO2 but it’s high number comes from a long residence in the atmosphere •Percentage in atmosphere 0.031% •Accounts for 5% of Global Warming effects •Human activity only accounts for 10-12% of it’s production, but anthropogenic NO2 from: - Industrialized agriculture, N fertilizers - Industrialized livestock farming, poor handling of animal waste - Chemical industry, HNO3 and nylon production

47 GH Gases – CFC’s •Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s) have largely been replaced in aerosols, propellants, and refrigerants by hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC’s) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFC’s) These gases are less damaging to the ozone layer but still have GWP values much higher that CO2 and are important contributors to global warming

48 E3.3 – Influence of Greenhouse Gases
Rising Sea Levels •As atmospheric temperature increases, sea levels will rise for two reasons: The increased atmospheric temperature causes accelerated melting This does not include floating ice in the arctic as it already displaces water while it floats As oceans warm up, the water in them will expand, occupying more volume (even minor amounts could be significant due to the quantity of water in the ocean!)

49 Glacier Retreat •Glaciers undergo a seasonal melting and freezing as temperatures vary throughout the year. •In the Himalayas glacial melt water is an important source of fresh water, feeing the rivers of South Asia •Increased melting increases erosion and risk of flooding downriver, a particular problem in low-lying countries

50 Changing Patterns of Agriculture
•In temperate regions (such as Europe) yields of grain will most likely increase due to higher temperature, longer growing season and increased [CO2] available for photosynthesis •But, increased humidity and rainfall could lead to increased incidence of fungal crop diseases, and migration of tropical insects to higher altitudes. •At higher latitudes, more workable land may become available due to thawing and temperature changes. Worldwide, the possibility of extreme weather increases the likelihood of ruined harvest

51 CO2 Increases • Atmospheric CO2 levels have been recorded with increases shown at right • A comparison was also studied from data collected from the analysis of air bubbles trapped in Arctic ice. Shows an increase in CO2 content over the last 150 years or more

52 E3.3 – Greenhouse Gas Correlation to Temperature Change
• Analysis of polar ice in the Greenland Ice Core Project, showed evidence for long-term climate changes (correlated to CO2 and CH4)

53 Enviro Chemistry Part 4 – Ozone Depletion

54 E4.1 – Ozone Formation and Depletion
O2 + uv → 2O• O2 + O• → O3 •Depletion: O3 + uv → O2 + O • O3 + O• → 2O2

55 E4.1 – Ozone Formation and Depletion
•The processes of formation and depletion of ozone in the stratosphere is normal. •The rates of formation and depletion are equal in “normal” circumstances •This delicate balance must be maintained for the ozone to be effective •Ozone Formation From O2 and UV energy •Ozone Depletion From O3 and UV energy

56 E4.1 – Natural Ozone Formation
•Diatomic oxygen absorbs a photon with λ < 242nm which is in the UVc region O2 (+UV 242nm) → O• + O• O2 + O• + M → O3 + M M is used as a catalyst (third body) for the reaction. It carries away excess energy.

57 E4.1 – Natural Ozone Depletion
•The UV photon can cause an ozone molecule to dissociate into a diatomic oxygen as well. •This process requires a photon λ = nm which is the UVb region O3 (+ UV nm) → O2 + O• O3 + O• → 2O2 •These two processes (formation, depletion) lead to a steady concentration of ozone and UVc and UVb are largely filtered out in this process if the ideal!

58 •UV region of the spectrum is divided into three regions:
E4.1 – UV Radiation •UV region of the spectrum is divided into three regions: •UVa: nm -Not harmful -Not blocked •UVb: nm -Less Harmful -Less blocked •UVc: nm -HARMFUL -blocked Small changes in Ozone can lead to a significant rise in UVb , resulting in increased incidence of skin cancer

59 E4.1 – Ozone Layer • Ozone is a powerful oxidizing agent • When formed in the air, it’s considered a pollutant since it can reach concentrations harmful to humans and exist outside of the ozone layer • Ozone is formed by the photochemical reactants that lead to smog • The Ozone layer is considered “good” ozone as it absorbs harmful UV radiation which leads to skin cancer. Without the ozone layer, we could not have evolved Major impacts to the ozone layer due to human activity can be seen at the polar regions

60 E4.1 – Stratospheric Ozone
•The stratosphere is the layer lying above the troposphere at altitudes around 12km(~39,000ft)-52 km. •Over 90% of all ozone (O3) found in stratosphere •Exists even in ozone layer in [O3] of <5ppm •In the stratosphere, the level of ozone is maintained by a cyclic series of processes, in which ozone is continuously created and destroyed These processes involve the absorption of UV

61 E4.2 – Ozone-depleting Pollutants
• Examples include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). • In 1985, the British Antarctic Survey published research showing that the ozone concentration over Antarctica was lower than expected. • This unexpected lowering of the ozone concentration became known as the “hole” Suspected cause of the hole in the ozone was the use of CFC’s

62 E4.2 – What are CFC’s •Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s) were designed as propellants for aerosol sprays and as refrigerants •These chemicals are volatile and chemically inert in the troposphere which is why they were used in aerosols as they didn’t contaminate the liquid •When released at ground level, they slowly mix throughout the troposphere. They remain unreactive in the upper troposphere since UV light that can illicit a reaction is absorbed by ozone •Once the CFC’s reach the stratosphere, they react with large amounts of radiation from the sun and produce chlorine radicals Cl•

63 E4.2 – Ozone Depletion (CFC’s)
•When the CFC molecules eventually reach the stratosphere, they dissociate by UV radiation: CFCl3 + UV → CFCl2• + Cl• CF2Cl2 + UV → CF2Cl• + Cl• •A chain reaction is initiated in which Cl• destroy an ozone molecule, and are then regenerated in another reaction, allowing further depletion

64 E4.2 – Ozone Depletion (N2O)
• Most nitrogen oxides formed in the troposphere are sufficiently reactive that are used up in chemical reactions, such as those which produce smog, or acid rain. • BUT, N2O (nitrous oxide), is relatively unreactive allowing it to rise to the atmosphere where it can combine with a O• O• + N2O → 2NO• • NO participates in similar chain reactions to chlorine atoms, and so is regarded as a serious ozone-depleting pollutant as well

65 E4.3 – Alternatives to CFC’s
•Alternatives include hydrocarbons (CxHy) , fluorocarbons (FC’s) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). •Include toxicity, flammability, the relative weakness of the C–Cl bond and the ability to absorb infrared radiation.

66 E4.3 – CFC Alternative (HCFC’s)
•The presence of weaker C-H bonds in the molecule affects the reactivity of the molecule. - CFC’s exists as stable molecules until the stratosphere - HCFC’s react in troposphere by attack from OH• - The H-atom combines with OH• to form H2O and the remainder of the molecule (CFCl2•) is able to break down further and release water-soluble compounds into the atmosphere which can be removed by rain

67 E4.3 – CFC Alternative (HFC’s)
•Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC’s) are preferable to HCFC because they contain no chlorine. •The C-F bond is much shorter than the C-Cl bond and is thus much stronger so UV photons carry insufficient energy to break the C-F bond. •HFC’s are broken down in the troposphere in a similar way to HCFC’s, but the absence of chlorine means that HFC’s have no tendency to deplete the ozone

68 E4.3 – CFC Alternative (CxHy’s)
•Mixtures of propane and butane have been marketed as alternatives to CFC’s, especially in refrigeration and air conditioning applications •Appliances must be carefully designed to minimize the possibility of the hydrocarbon being ignited, for example by an electrical spark.


70 Enviro Chemistry Part 5 – Dissolved Oxygen in Water

71 E5.1 – Biochemical Oxygen Demand
•Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) describes the quantity of oxygen used when the organic material in the water is decomposed by microorganisms.

72 E5.1 - [O2] • The solubility of O2(g) in water is quite low - 8.3 ppm (~0.009g dm-3) at 25oC Solubility can be altered by changes in temperature, concentrations of dissolved materials, and quantities of biological waste If the [O2] falls below 5 ppm fish will start to die If the [O2] falls below 3 ppm fish cannot survive

73 E5.1 – Biological Wastes •Anthropogenic Biological wastes - Human and animal waste (sewage/manure) - Food processing factory waste - Slaughterhouses - Paper mills • Organic material will gradually decay by the action of microorganisms. It consumes O2 as: *(CH2O)n(aq) + nO2(g) → nCO2(g) + nH2O(l) *(CH2O)n is an empirical formula representing carbohydrates such as cellulose which form the structure of plants

74 E5.1 – BOD Values •The previous process, (CH2O)n(aq) + nO2(g) → nCO2(g) + nH2O(l), is called aerobic decomposition, as the microorganisms involved require O2. As decay occurs, the O2 available for other organisms such as fish is decreased •Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) describes the quantity of O2 used when the organic material in the water is decomposed by microorganisms. - Small BOD = small amount of organic matter present, water is quite pure - Large BOD = impure water, much of the O2 present is used up in decomposition, less for fish

75 E5.1 – BOD Values •BOD [pure water] ≈ 1 ppm •BOD [polluted water] > 5 ppm •The [H2O] at 25oC ≈ 8 ppm, if the BOD is 5 ppm it lowers the [O2] ≈ 3 ppm where it can no longer sustain fish •BOD values can be measured using a dissolved oxygen probe or via a redox titration

76 E5.2/3 - Eutrophication • Eutrophication is defined as ‘an increase in the level of chemical nutrients in an ecosystem.’ However the terms if often used to mean the resultant increase in plant growth, lowering of [O2] and decline of fish populations •Lake environments typically favor fish over plant life. (Due to levels of P and N being low, which results in limited plant growth and little decaying vegetation) - Lake water has a low BOD, therefore fish populations are able to reach a high level!

77 E5.3 – Algal Bloom •Human activities can lead to increases of nutrients in rivers and streams. - Use of fertilizers on farmland - Release of sewage onto rivers •Both result in a large increase in [nutrient], and phosphorus in particular in the water they feed •This excess of nutrients leads to excess growth of primitive plants called algae, which float on the surface of the water, a ‘green scum’ known as an algal bloom

78 Eutrophic lakes can be recognized by a green tint to the water

79 Algae blooms result in unpleasant tasting water and may release harmful toxins.
•The color, taste, and toxicity of the water affect human activities such as fishing and boating. •Water clogged with algae is more difficult to treat for drinking. •Biggest problem is AFTER the algae die. - Dead algae is consumed by aerobic bacteria which use up the dissolved O2 in the water. - [O2] falls below necessary level for life. Lake is nearly useless for fishing and has an effect on local communities

80 After the algal bloom, [O2] falls so low that aerobic bacteria cannot survive
• Instead, anaerobic bacteria decompose the remaining dead algae, forming foul-smelling products such as ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane and thioalcohols Bacteria may release dangerous toxins lethal to animals

81 E5.4 – Thermal Pollution •The temperature of water highly affects the solubility of gases. At 25oC the solubility is 8.3 ppm At 30oC this falls to 5 ppm when fish begin to die

82 Human activities can lead to an increase in water temperature known as thermal pollution
• This occurs near power stations where water is drawn to cool the steam from the turbines in devices called heat exchangers. When water leaves it could be 20oC warmer • [O2] is decreased when temperature rises because Solubility of O2 is decreased with higher Temps Microorganisms respire more quickly - using more O2

83 High temperatures also cause enzymes in microorganisms to denature and as a result they cannot digest their food molecules • Changing temperatures may also alter the cycle of fish such as: Spawn (lay eggs) earlier Eggs hatch earlier At this time in the cycle the necessary nutrients may not be available in the system Thermal pollution may also be reduced trickling water through a porous material and blowing air in the opposite direction to transfer heat to air instead of water.

84 Enviro Chemistry Part 6 – Water Treatment

85 E6.1 – Water Cycle

86 E6.1 – Water and its Pollutants
• Water is an excellent solvent and dissolves many different chemical substances • As water falls through the atmosphere it dissolves gases, such as CO2, and pollutants such as SO2 and NOx. • Chemical fertilizers washed off the farmland will add NO3- and PO43- ions • River water may contain pesticides, bacteria and oil • All of these impurities must be removed before it can be used for drinking

87 E6.1 – Types of Water Pollutants
•Water pollution falls into two broad categories: - Point sources – occurs when the source of pollution is clearly identifiable at one point For example: a chemical factory releasing toxic substances into a river - Non-point sources – describes situations in which water collects pollutants over a larger area, and thus cannot be attributed to a single source Examples: Acid rain polluting a lake, fertilizer run-off which accumulates N and P in compounds in rivers

88 The primary pollutants found in waste water are:
Heavy metals (toxic metals) Pesticides (insecticides and herbicides) Chemical wastes (dioxins, PCB’s) Organic Wastes (sewage) Fertilizers



91 E6.2 – Waste Water Treatment
•The treatment of waste water before it can be safely re-introduced to rivers takes place in three stages: - Primary treatment – screening to remove solids, followed by sedimentation of sand, grit and sludge - Secondary treatment – use of oxygen and bacteria to remove organic matter - Tertiary treatment – chemical precipitation of remaining organic compounds, heavy metals, nitrates and phosphates

92 E6.2 – Primary Treatment •Water is sent through coarse mesh screens: - Raw waste water contains floating and suspended solid material. This may include paper, rags, wood and plastic rubbish that may cause blockage elsewhere in the treatment plant. •Water is passed through grit channel - The speed of the water is slowed so sand and grit settle out. A spinning centrifuge could also be used. •Water is then passed into large holding tanks to settle - Fine solid particles form sludge at bottom, insoluble grease floats to top and is skimmed off Sometimes this treatment alone is enough

93 E6.2 – Secondary Treatment
•Secondary treatment focuses on lowering BOD by removing organic matter •The principal secondary treatment involves allowing aerobic bacteria to oxidize the organic matter - One method involves pouring of the waste over a bed of small stones covered in microorganisms - More effective method called the activated sludge process. Bacteria and sewage are mixed and blasted with air allowing for the bacteria to multiply rapidly and feed on the organic material. This process removes 90% of the BOD from waste water


95 B6.2 – Tertiary Treatment • Tertiary treatment is sometimes called advanced water treatment and removes the remaining inorganic pollutants from the water (PO43-, N- complexes, heavy metal ions). • This process is very important where industrial point sources such as metal works or chemical plants have led to high [pollutants] • Nitrogen compounds are removed so they do not contribute to eutrophication of rivers and lakes. There are two common types (ammonium ions, and nitrate ions.)

96 E6.2 – Tertiary, NH4+ removal
•In the tertiary treatment, water is first treated with nitrifying bacteria, which oxidize the NH4+ ions to nitrate ions •This is a two-step process: NH4+(aq) + 1½ O2(g) → NO2-(aq) + 2H+(aq) + H2O(l) NO2-(aq) + ½ O2(g) → NO3-(aq)

97 E6.2 – Tertiary, NO3- removal
•The nitrate ions originally present in waste water, along with those formed in the treatment of NH4+, are then reduced (by different strains of bacteria) to nitrogen gas, which is released into the atmosphere •2NO3−(aq) + 10e− + 12H+(aq) → N2(g) + 6H2O(l)

98 E6.2 – Tertiary, PO43- removal
•Phosphates are removed by either biological or chemical processes. •Water treated with biomass containing specific bacteria which absorb the PO43- ions, and the product can later be used as fertilizer •Alternatively, PO43- ions can be removed by chemical precipitation Fe3+ (aq) + PO43-(aq) → FePO4(s) Al3+ (aq) + PO43-(aq) → AlPO4(s)

99 E6.2 – Tertiary, Heavy Metal removal
•Heavy metals can be removed by chemical precipitation or ion exchange. •Most transition metal ions have insoluble hydroxides, so Ca(OH)2 or Na2CO3 are added Cr3+ (aq) + OH-(aq) → Cr(OH)3(s) A coagulant can then be added to clump and collect insoluble particles together • Ion exchange resin is a material that binds reversibly to particular cations or anions as they are more attracted to heavy metals than original ions 2Na+(resin) + Cd2+ (aq) ⇌ 2Na+(aq) + Cd2+ (resin)

100 E6.3 – Fresh water from the Sea
•Osmosis is a natural process which serves to equalize the concentrations of solutions. •If two solutions (one salt water, one water) are placed on two sides of a semi-permeable membrane, the water will tend to flow to the salt solution side until concentrations are in equilibrium •If pure water is desired, we want the opposite and the solution must flow against the osmotic flow. This process is called reverse osmosis.

101 Reverse osmosis requires that a pressure be applied to the salt water, greater than the osmotic pressure. This high pressure forces the solvent, water, through the membrane, leaving the solute, salt, behind. •This process takes energy because you must force the water through the membranes

102 E6.3 – Thermal Desalination
•The most commonly used method to date is multi-stage flash distillation (MSF). •Sea water is heated under high pressure and then passed into a chamber at lower pressure : - Rapid decrease in pressure causes water to ‘flash’ evaporate - After each ‘flash’ the steam is cooled in another chamber - The cycle takes advantage of the steam to heat more water, keeping energy consumption minimized

103 E6.3 – Advantage of Different Methods of Attaining Fresh Water

104 Enviro Chemistry Part 7 – Soil

105 Soil is composed of organic and inorganic components in varying proportions
Organic component is called the humus and consists of plant material that has been partly decayed by bacteria and fungi Inorganic component includes mineral particles (gravel, sand, silt, and clay), water, and air. Water trapped between soil grains contains ions (from dissolving of minerals) which can be absorbed by plant roots. This liquid containing dissolved ions and organic substances, is called the soil solution

106 Soil supports a variety of living organisms, including bacteria, insects and worms which by growth and decay and the circulation of water and air, modify the soil structure. •Composition by volume of typical surface soil: 45% inorganic (rock) 5% organic 25% water 25% air

107 Soil contains rotting organic matter in various stages of decomposition
Early states of decomposition: - Plant tissue (cellulose): broken down into shorter polysaccharides - Animal tissue: broken down into their proteins Further decay: - Breaks polysaccharides into simpler sugars and proteins into amino acids When soil is aerated - Aerobic bacteria and fungi can decompose most of these molecules still further, forming CO2 and H2O

108 Soil Organic Matter (SOM) is beneficial to soil in the following ways:
Products of partial decomposition replenish the soil by turning large molecules to smaller ones and soluble ones which plant roots can take up Partially decayed organic material helps to hold soil together. When soil is bound together, water (and thermal) retention is improved Dark-colored SOM-rich soil absorbs heat better than lighter-colored (low SOM) soil

109 In wet soils, O2 is less able to reach the organic material
In wet soils, O2 is less able to reach the organic material. As a result, anaerobic bacteria take over, and form more complex organic compounds such as phenols and carboxylic acids  These are ‘humic substances’ and the mixture is called humus  In cold/wet climates. Up to 95% organic matter known as ‘peat soils.’ • The phenols and carboxylic acids in the humus (weak acids) help to buffer the soil pH  Important since pH affects the solubility of metal cations in the soil

110 Much of the SOM is insoluble in water but helps to retain water and water-soluble plant nutrients so that they can be taken up by plants roots. Nutrients include inorganic minerals such as phosphorus, nitrogen and sulfur, which are needed for healthy plant growth. SOM also has many other important physical functions. There are spaces or pores that exist between the SOM which act to hold water (much like a sponge), oxygen and nitrogen. Some of the SOM along with fungi create aggregates that allow for a more stable structure of the soil. This creates a soil layer that is more resistant to erosion; therefore, soils with greater amounts of SOM have less degradation.

111 Soil degradation Soil degradation takes place when actions result in the soil being unhealthy or infertile. This degradation can take place naturally as well as a result of human activity. Natural sources of soil degradation include wind and water erosion. The rates of these types of erosion can be increased by improper land use practices. - For example, when small shrubs are removed to make way for farming, the roots that once held soil in place are no longer there, which means that wind and water erosion increase and valuable soil is lost. The three main anthropogenic forms of soil degradation are salinization, nutrient depletion, and soil pollution.

112 Salinization: The build-up of salts in the soil often becoming toxic to plants. Can arise from : - Irrigation: water is diverted from waterways to farmland to support crops where rainfall is limited. The irrigation water may contain some dissolved salts. - The natural water table The water transports salts to the soil as they are dissolved. As the water evaporates, the salt is left behind and can build up over time.

113 Nutrient Depletion The nitrogen cycle requires that the minerals taken up during plant growth will re-enter the soil when the plants die and decay. If, through cultivation and harvesting, crops are continuously removed, the nutrients and minerals go along with them. Nutrient depletion can be avoided by crop rotation over a number of years (and some off years where the crops are plowed back into the soil for nutrients).

114 Soil Pollution Soil nutrient depletion is often addressed by the use of chemical fertilizers which contain nitrates (NO3-) and phosphates (PO43-) •These excess nutrients can lead to environmental issues on their own •As well as inorganic pollutants, organics can be soil pollutants as well.

115 Soil pollution can also occur when harmful air pollutants settle onto the topsoil, get turned under and contaminate the soil food web. These contaminants can be released into our water supplies and back into the atmosphere in the form of particulate matter. Soil pollution can also result when hazardous waste from industry is placed in landfills and leaches into the surrounding soil.


117 Enviro Chemistry Part 8 – Waste

118 Anything you throw away in your rubbish bin is called waste
Anything you throw away in your rubbish bin is called waste. As the world population and the standard of living increases, larger and larger amounts of waste are produced. Once your garbage is driven away in the garbage truck there are two main ways in which it is:  Landfill sites (burying the waste) Incineration (burning the waste) - Both methods are potentially damaging Recycling waste is advantageous because it removes the need to dispose of waste and cuts down on the need for non-renewable resources

119 Solid Waste falls into five categories
Food and kitchen waste and plant waste – biodegradable Recyclable materials – glass, plastic, paper, etc Composite wastes – mixtures of materials such as clothing and packaging materials – difficult to recycle Inert wastes – rubble, debris, etc Hazardous wastes – paints, garden chemicals, batteries, light bulbs, medicines

120 E8.1 - Landfill •Landfills are designed to limit surface water (rain, runoff, etc) from passing through and leaching out harmful materials. •Sites chosen are often made of clay – a low permeable soil so ground water movement is small •Pits are lined with plastic, gravel, and a drainage system This ensures that polluted water that accumulates (leachate) can be collected and disposed of properly When full, the site is covered with the same layer to keep rain water out.


122 When waste is added to site
At first, when O2 is present, aerobic bacteria work on the organic material producing CO2 When O2 used up, anaerobic decomposition occurs and generates CH4, H2S, and H2. - These gases can accumulate below ground so an ventilation system must be constructed - Air can be pumped into the landfill in order to increase the aerobic bacteria decomposition

123 The liquid leachate can contain heavy metals and cyanide and must be extracted from the landfill via the drainage system. •The liquid must be treated by chemical or biological means to remove pollutants before re-entering waterways (discussed previously) - Heavy metal precipitation (E6) • The cyanide can be removed by oxidation with sodium chlorate NaCN + NaOCl → NaCNO + NaCl 2NaCNO + 3NaOCl + H2O → 3NaCl + N2 + 2NaHCO3

124 E8.1 - Incineration •Incineration has many advantages - Removes bulk from solid waste - Resultant ash has a uniform composition that can be more densely packed into landfills - Can be burned for power generation •However, the flu gas must be thoroughly cleaned before being allowed to enter the environment as it contains CO, HCl, HCN, organics, heavy metals, and particulates - Two types of incinerators are the Rotary-kiln and Fluidized-bed.

125 Rotary-kiln Incinerator
•Rotating chambers are used to allow movement of waste and to ensure that all of the waste is exposed to air. •Most of the waste is combusted to form gases Passed to ‘afterburner’ to ensure that solid particulates are fully combusted Gases are then ‘scrubbed’ to remove pollutants •Remaining solid waste drops out of the kiln and is cooled with water, recyclable materials can be reclaimed from this solid waste.

126 Fluidized-bed Incinerator
•A sand bed is used to allow hot air to be basted in. Separates the sand grains, allowing air between them The sand is suspended on the air currents and it behaves like a fluid, flowing and circulating. Ground-up waste is introduced to the sand bed where it’s suspended and the air is mixed throughout ensuring that maximum surface area of the waste particles is exposed to air for combustion

127 Incinerator Air Pollution
•Most of the carbon present in waste (mostly in organic material and plastics) is converted into CO2 in the incinerator. •This is arguably preferable to landfills where methane is formed. If the methane is not reclaimed as fuel it enters the atmosphere as a green house gas with a very high GWP (higher than CO2) •Other flu gas pollutants are removed in procedures described in E1.

128 Recycling One of the best ways to minimize the influence waste has on our environment and to provide a sustainable environment is to recycle. Recycling can be an expensive way of dealing with problematic waste and not all waste can be recycled; separating the different recyclables can be time consuming and difficult.


130 E8.3/4 – Radioactive Wastes
Radioactivity is the release of radiation from the nucleus of an atom as it changes, or decays, into a different element . Nuclei decay in order to stabilize their structure Reduces neutron:proton ratio in nucleus Three types: alpha, beta, gamma

131 Nuclear power plants have many advantages over other sources of energy
Nuclear power plants have many advantages over other sources of energy. They do not contribute to air pollution or greenhouse gases, and their fuel source, uranium, is abundant enough to supply energy for the next 1000 years. One of the major problems of nuclear power plants is the disposal of the spent fuel rods that provided the energy for the nuclear fission reactor. These spent fuel rods are sources of high-level waste (HLW) because they give off large amounts of ionizing radiation for a long time. These spent fuel rods must be cooled for several years in deep pools inside the plant or in special shielded storage facilities at another site. It is said that this waste must be stored for tens of thousands of years before it can be disposed of safely.

132 A second category of radioactive waste is low-level waste (LLW),
which refers to waste that gives off small amounts of ionizing radiation for a short amount of time. Low-level waste is waste that may have come into contact with radioactive substances directly and therefore has become contaminated. It includes radioactively contaminated industrial or research waste such as paper, rags, plastic bags, rubber gloves, protective clothing and packaging material. Hospitals, medical schools and radiopharmaceutical schools all produce large amounts of LLW. This waste can be placed in steel drums and buried in landfills.

133 Disposal of radioactive waste
There are very different disposal requirements for radioactive waste that depend on whether it is LLW or HLW. The difference in disposal methods is primarily based on the amount of radioactivity remaining in the waste. Low level waste is the least contaminated and therefore requires less complicated means of disposal. It can simply be stored on site until it has sufficiently decayed and then disposed of with the regular waste.

134 The spent fuel that is used to fuel a nuclear power plant is initially stored in deep pools of water on the nuclear power plant site. The water in these pools acts to absorb the heat energy that is released by the spent fuel and to protect the workers from the radiation. These spent fuel rods are then reprocessed to recover the unfissioned uranium ore. This liquid waste is then classified as HLW and must be disposed of safely.

135 The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, for example, has designed a HLW disposal site in the Yucca Mountains in Nevada.

136 Nuclear Medical Waste •Radioactive isotopes are used in numerous medical applications Medicines or diagnostic tools – short ½ life substances are used. Technetium is used as a tracer. Iodine-131 is used to treat thyroid cancers (since the gland absorbs iodine) Radiotherapy – long ½ life substances like cesium-137 are used to generate radiation in machines used for radiotherapy X-rays for radiography – long ½ life substances such as cobalt-60 and iridium-192 are used to generate X-rays for imagine •Medical gloves and clothing are considered low-level, isotopes from defunct X-ray machines are considered high-level

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