Harmful Water Pollution Changes in Recent History
In 1977 the Clean Water Act was amended into the act that we know today. Even as the United States celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of this act, there are still changes in the level of pollution all over the world today that are harming the environment from factors such as big business and from smaller, individual contributors. These factors are categorized in the most general sense as manufacturing pollution, agricultural pollution, accidental pollution, and consumer pollution and are what make water purification necessary.
Sources of Water Pollution
From industrial runoff to the improper disposal of herbicides by a gardener, there are all kinds of ways, intentional or not, that water can be contaminated. Accidents are also a source of water pollution, all of which culminate in a change in the quality of the water in question. Even something as simple as an obstruction within an underground aquifer can cause a change in the quality of water. Some common sources of water pollution include:
- Surface runoff from farms, businesses, and paved surfaces
- Excess of nutrients pumped into waters
- Discharge of used water into waters
- Acid rain
- Underground storage tank leakage
- Discharge of used chemicals into waters
- Discharge of industry byproducts into waters
Pollution from Manufacturers
The majority of pollution from manufacturers is simply from the surface runoff of byproducts, chemicals, and contaminated water that seeps into groundwater. This means that chemicals used during the manufacturing process, water that is used or heated during the manufacturing process, or byproducts left over from the manufacturing process seep into the ground and makes its way into aquifers. Though there is a strict policy in place for the disposal of harmful runoff, there is still enough making its way into the groundwater that it is obviously a problem.
Pollution from Agriculture
Water pollution that comes from agriculture comes from several sources. It may come from runoff of pesticides and herbicides, slash and burn agricultural tactics, improper disposal of sewage in relation to livestock, bacterial release from livestock, and fertilizers. These forms of pollution make it to groundwater and running bodies of water from runoff as well as improper disposal techniques.
Pollution from Accidents
Unfortunately there are also kinds of water pollution that come about simply from accidents. One of the most common is the leakage of underground storage tanks. The tanks can leak waste, chemicals, or byproducts into aquifers and other groundwater without anyone noticing until it is too late. Another type of accidental water pollution comes from spills of toxic substances into the water. Oil spills are a good example of this; another might be the less harmful example of the 29,000 Friendly Floatee toys that washed into the ocean in 1992.
Pollution from Consumers
Water pollution is not a product of big business and agriculture alone. There is also pollution from the general public or consumers to be taken into account when considering the amount of water pollution as well. From poor disposal of home fertilizers and pesticides to runoff from overly treated lawns, there is a noticeable amount of water pollution coming from the improper disposal of chemicals used in and outside the home. There is also the factor of byproducts that eventually become sewage that are from consumers, which can leak out of poorly maintained sewer systems.
Because of water pollution, water purification is necessary, but it can�t be blamed on just one source. Contamination from industrial, agricultural, consumer, and accidental sources all contribute to the problem and continue to cause pollution.