Water Pollution Control
Water pollution control seems to be under control as the quality of natural water is improving with time. Yet, there are many still unaware of the problems that continue to plague the renewable resource of natural fresh water. To make up for this, there are many water pollution control movements going on in hopes of conserving water and controlling pollution for generations to come.
Forms of Water Pollution
Water pollution is described as the loss of practical use of water from contamination, and it comes in many forms, either natural or man-made. All of these forms of contamination either kill the natural habitats and wildlife found there or they promote so much growth that the delicate ecosystem is thrown off balance and the aquatic animals and plants die anyway. Some forms of water pollution are:
- Industrial surface runoff
- Runoff from farms including pesticides and fertilizers
- Slash and burn farming practices
- Accidental runoff from surface spills such as petroleum
- Excessive nutrients spilled into water from factories
- Acid rain
- Discharge from industrial processes
- Accidental leakage from underground storage tanks
- Natural geography of aquifers that allow for seepage
These forms of pollution leave behind contaminants that make the water unsafe to use. These contaminants are usually harmful to humans as well as the animals in the ecosystem and contain bacteria as well as chemicals and metals that can harm the water. Some of these contaminants include:
- Insecticides and herbicides
- Food processing wastes
- Plant processing wastes from logging
- Bacteria and pathogens from animal processing and animal waste
- Industrial chemical discharge
- Heavy metals
- Contaminated silt in surface runoff
Contaminants are the source of polluted water, and because pollution puts them there, it is obvious why it has to be controlled. Of course, there are now many actions that are being taken to provide control for water pollution and get regular people involved as well.
Forms of Water Pollution Control
To combat the problems that water pollution causes, there are several forms of control that have been implemented for several decades now. These forms of control come all the way from the government level of authority all the way back to the average consumer. Some of these include:
- Legislature � Laws and acts that limit how much contamination can be allowed back into natural fresh water sources. Some of these pieces of legislature include the Clean Water Act and the Great Lakes Legacy Act. These pieces of legislature gave the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the power to set restrictions on pollution levels.
- Water Recycling � Another practice for reducing water pollution is water recycling. This involves taking wastewater and re-treating it so it can be used for non-potable water uses such as field irrigation. This leads to less water being wasted, thus less water needing to be removed from the delicate ecosystems where aquatic life is already threatened by other factors.
- Water Conservation � Conserving water as not only a natural resource, but as a habitat, is an important part to controlling pollution. By practicing water conservation, there is less wastewater made to runoff into natural habitats. There is also more clean, fresh water left in those habitats, and it is harder to pollute larger bodies of water.
- Responsible Consuming � Being a responsible consumer is also a major combatant in the fight against water pollution. Personally accepting the responsibility to dispose of chemicals properly instead of pouring them in sewer drains, and only purchasing non-hazardous materials goes a long way in the fight against water pollution.
All of these forms of water pollution control affect people who are involved in big business and government all the way down to average people who are just trying to do their parts. Of course, the result of these attempts leads to water pollution control, which is attempted with a three step plan.
Approach to Water Pollution Control
The approach that is used to determine if a problem with an ecosystem is water pollution is quite easy to learn. It is a three step process, involving the identification of the pollutant, the source, and the effects of this pollutant on the surrounding environment. Only then can steps be taken to control the water pollution.
- Type of Pollutant � The first step in the approach to water pollution control is to determine what kind of pollutant is responsible for the water pollution.
- Agricultural chemical runoff, such as fertilizers and pesticides
- Natural pollutants, including displacement from earthquakes or mudslides
- Manufacturing industry runoff, which usually includes chemicals of some kind
- Wastewater that is being pumped back into a natural fresh water source
- Source of Pollutant � The next step in pollution control is to discover the source of the pollutant causing the problems.
- Manufacturing plant
- Nearby farms
- Wastewater piping
- Natural disaster
- Effects of Pollutant � The last step in water pollution control is to learn what the effects of the particular pollutant are on the surrounding habitats. The effects determine whether the water is still safe to drink after treatment or not.
- Is it killing wildlife?
- Is it causing algae blooms?
- Has it discolored the water?
- Are their floating pieces visible in the water?
By learning about the types of pollutants, the source of them, and the effects they have on the environment, the people working to control water pollution can have a better understanding of what they are doing. This also helps to show how all the forms of control help in the long run, so that it doesn�t seem futile.
How Water Pollution Control Helps
Controlling water pollution isn�t just about conserving the small amount of fresh water on the planet so that future generations will have as much as they need. It is also about habitat conservation and even energy conservation, all wrapped in the umbrella term of water pollution control.
- Habitat Conservation � Water pollution control helps immensely with habitat conservation because it protects the delicate ecosystems of aquatic life. It helps the water stay clear for photosynthesis, while keeping plants from overgrowing and choking the oxygen out of the water. It also reduces the amount of dead animals and plants, which add ammonia and carbon dioxide to the water. The habitat conservation aspect also reduces the amount of deformed creatures and plants born.
- Energy Conservation � Pollution control contributes to energy conservation by reducing the amount of energy needed to clean up very large pollution problems, as they are encountered when they are smaller and easier to correct. Water pollution control also means less water filtration and purification is needed, which will save a lot of energy.
- Water Conservation � Water conservation benefits vastly from water pollution control. It means less water is wasted because it has to be thrown out when too contaminated to treat and that less water is taken out of the clean ecosystems because there is more to use.
Water pollution control is something that can be participated in by anyone, be it a big business or an individual consumer. By knowing the approaches to control, anyone can reap the benefits of controlling water pollution and make efforts to improve the quality of the water out there in the world.