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Water Pollution and Treatment Types of water pollution 1) Sediment: the #1 pollutant of U.S. waterways Soil, sand, and gravel washed into waterways Contributors:

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Presentation on theme: "Water Pollution and Treatment Types of water pollution 1) Sediment: the #1 pollutant of U.S. waterways Soil, sand, and gravel washed into waterways Contributors:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Water Pollution and Treatment Types of water pollution 1) Sediment: the #1 pollutant of U.S. waterways Soil, sand, and gravel washed into waterways Contributors: Agriculture, construction Results: streams choked with sand/silt, rather than rocky bottoms. Coral reefs are covered with silt, killing them off



4 Mississippi River Delta




8 Yellow River, China Madagascar

9 2) Oil: discharged either intentionally or by accident. Intentional discharges include ships washing out oil tanks, pumping the liquid overboard. Technically illegal, but still occurs quite a bit. Dumping anything down a storm drain allows it to reach a local waterway quickly. Oil from oil changes should be recycled, and can easily be re-used for other purposes.

10 Accidental Oil Discharge Leakage from tanks, pipelines, ships, autos Exxon Valdez: 1989, spilled @12 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William sound, in Alaska. Resulting Damage: 100,000- 650,000 sea birds, 28% sea otters, 15% harbor seals, unknown numbers of fish and other creatures. Every day in the U.S., several million gallons of oil are leaked by automobiles onto streets, and into storm drains.








18 3) Waterborne disease Carried to waterways through runoff Diseases such as cryptosporidium ( an intestinal parasite). E. coli bacteria, found in the intestinal tract of most animals. Also called fecal coliform bacteria, washed into waterways through storm drains, or leaked out of sub-standard sewers and septic systems

19 The 1993 Milwaukee Cryptosporidium outbreak was a significant distribution of the Cryptosporidium protozoan in Milwaukee Wisconsin, and the largest waterborne disease outbreak in documented United States history. Over 100 deaths were attributed to this outbreak, mostly among the elderly and immunocompromised people, such as AIDS patients

20 Outdated sewer systems, such as in Wilmington, combine runoff with sewers. In a heavy rain event, the combined amount of liquid overwhelms the sewer plant, and is not treated. The liquid is dumped, untreated, into the Christina River near its junction with the Delaware River. A plan is underway to separate the two systems, and allow the storm drains to empty directly into the river.




24 Other sources of fecal coliform: Farms, especially those with large numbers of cattle or horses. Large scale feed operations, such as hog farms and chicken farms. (C.A.F.O.) Legislation has been enacted to prevent the discharge of untreated waste to waterways, but unintentional discharges still occur. Other animal waste, such as from dogs and cats






30 4) Nutrients The two main nutrients that act as pollutants are Nitrogen and Phosphorous. Sources: In urban areas, fertilizer, detergents, and sewer plant discharges are the main sources. High phosphate soaps used to be a bigger issue, but detergents now have much less phosphate than they once did. Although sewage treatment plants eliminate much of the organic matter, they still release large amounts of nitrogen into waterways.

31 Where Water Contaminants Come From

32 Surface Water Pollution Water Pollutants are emitted from –Point Sources Distinct and confined sources such as pipes from industrial or sites –Nonpoint Sources Diffused and intermittent Ex) runoffs from streets









41 Biochemical Oxygen Demand The amount of oxygen required for biochemical decomposition process 3 Zones : A Pollution Zone, where the initial pollution is introduced Usually caused by a large input of organic material or nutrients. An Active Decomposition Zone, where decomposers utilize the organic material, as well as Oxygen A Recovery Zone, where nutrients are gradually used up, and conditions gradually return to normal.


43 In rural areas, excess fertilizer from farm fields is the source of most nutrient pollution. Nutrient pollution also comes from animal farms, especially pigs and chickens. (C.A.F.O.) In the past, it was a common practice for farmers in DE to use large amounts of chicken manure as fertilizer, to get rid of the excess. Eventually the excess fertilizer found its way into the back bays, and caused huge algal blooms.

44 Eutrophication of Waterways Eutrophication is the process where a body of water receives a high level of nutrients, which leads to the eventual death of the waterway. a) Waterway receives too much N or P b) Nutrients cause a huge increase in algae in the waterway. c) Beneficial plants are shaded out, and die off d) Algae also eventually dies off, causing a drop in oxygen levels. e) Because of low oxygen levels, other organisms die off, and cause a further degradation.

45 Eutrophication is a natural process, but is very slow in nature. When the process is accelerated by humans, it is called cultural eutrophication. Eutrophication can be reversed of the nutrient load is reduced, and the waterway receives enough oxygen to allow decomposition to occur aerobically, forming CO 2. One of the results of C. E. is the production of H 2 S (hydrogen sulfide). This is formed when anaerobic decomposition takes place.


47 Total Maximum Daily Load is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive and still meet water quality standards. Total Maximum Daily Load TMDL’s are determined by the E.P.A., based on the ability of the body of water to recover, and the type of pollutant.

48 Delaware’s inland bays (Indian River and Little Assawoman Bay) are both highly eutrophic in the summer months. -High levels of N and P from farming, increased flow from sewage treatment facility. -Warmer water holds less dissolved oxygen than cold water. Result: large fish kills, when schools of fish are trapped in areas of low oxygen.

49 Blind-ended canals and marinas are the worst areas, because they receive very little fresh ocean water. Solar powered devices that mix the water have been tried with some success. The ultimate answer: less N and P, and more access to the ocean. Waste management is now mandated for chicken farmers, and studies on new access to the ocean have been done.


51 Other Types of Water Pollution Plastics: Many kinds of plastic are dumped intentionally or wash down into waterways. Intentional : Garbage has been dumped into the oceans for generations, although is has been greatly reduced.

52 FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 1997 SHIPPING COMPANIES PLEAD TO OCEAN DUMPING On Nov. 10, Ulysses Cruises Inc., a Panamanian company doing business in Miami, Fla., and Seaway Maritime Co., of Piraeus, Greece, plead guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami to dumping wastes in the Atlantic Ocean. Ulysses Cruises, which operated the cruise ship Seabreeze I for Dolphin Cruise Line Inc., admitted that the Seabreeze I knowingly discharged plastic bags filled with garbage into the sea at locations near the Florida Keys and Puerto Rico in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.

53 MIAMI — The stately cruise ship Norway, which sails to the Caribbean, evokes a gentler time. Beneath modern trappings such as an Internet cafe, the 40-year-old steamship with its grand ballrooms is reminiscent of ocean liners that crossed the Atlantic before the advent of the jet plane. But the Norway, owned by Norwegian Cruise Line, long kept a secret: It illegally dumped oily waste into the ocean, and the crew filed false records to mislead the Coast Guard.

54 Cruise ships dump waste in Caribbean as islands go slow on adopting ban Miles from shore in the open Caribbean Sea, cruise ships are dumping ground-up glass, rags and cardboard packaging. But vessels in other waters such as the Baltic and North seas are prohibited from throwing any solid waste overboard other than food scraps. The difference? Many countries with coastlines on the world's most fragile seas abide by a United Nations dumping ban that requires them to treat ship-generated garbage on land. Caribbean islands, however, have yet to adopt the ban, saying they simply don't have the capacity to treat ship garbage on shore. They also fear the ban could push ships to dock in less- regulated ports of call.

55 1988 federal law “Plastic Pollution Research and Control act” bans dumping any plastic at sea, yet it is ignored (e.g., by cruise ships) Possible Answers to Ocean Dumping Making plastics able to break down in sunlight or with microbes

56 Unintentional Dumping: Plastic waste washed down into storm drains washed directly into waterways.


58 Plastic bags and balloons blown into waterways.





63 A) 1990 Running shoes spill B) 2002 Garbage strip C) 2000 Plastic bag spill D) Shoes found E) Eastern Garbage Patch F) At the eye of the gyre, plastic reaches concentrations of a million pieces per square mile. Researchers have mapped a giant spill of bags and a mile-long strip of wind-driven garbage. Some of the plastic drifting in the North Pacific is swept to shore, like the thousands of Nike shoes that washed up in the Pacific Northwest. But much is trapped by calm winds and sluggish water within the North Pacific's loop of currents.



66 “Because of the stability of this gentle maelstrom, the largest uniform climatic feature on Earth is also an accumulator of the debris of civilization. Anything that floats, no matter where it comes from on the north Pacific Rim or ocean, ends up here, sometimes after drifting around the periphery for 12 years or more.”

67 “Past studies have shown that less than 5% of plastic ever gets recycled and each American disposes of roughly 65 lbs. of plastic each year.”

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