Water Pollution – Essay

21 Aug No Comments

Water Pollution



There are many types of water pollution, but I will touch on the impact of soil erosion on water quality in receiving waters, the dissolved oxygen profile downstream of a wastewater discharge, eutrophication of lakes, and sources of groundwater pollution. I will describe drinking water sources and typical drinking water processes for groundwater and surface water sources in the area where I live.

The definition of soil erosion is the natural movement of soil particles by wind or water from one location to another (Nathanson & Schneider, 2015, p. 109). Soil erosion can have major environmental impacts on water quality in receiving waters. By continuing to grow our cities and towns we create soil erosion and runoff into waterways. Development replaces soil and vegetation that once soaked up rainwater and snowmelt with the impervious surfaces of roofs and roads (Krause, C. (2003, October) Mock Village on Farmland Will Measure Runoff Effects on Water Quality. Journal of Environmental Health, p. 43). The changes increase the volume and speed of water runoff, increasing the risk of flooding, soil erosion, and the transport of chemicals into waterways. Soil erosion has been identified as one of the most significant sources of water pollutants (Nathanson & Schneider, 2015, p. 109). Chemicals in waterways can be very harmful to people and the marine life in the waters. With fast water runoff, large concentrated amounts of chemicals are able to make it in to receiving waters.

Soil erosion speeds up water runoff, which captures more chemicals and takes them downstream to receiving waters. More chemicals in the water will heat up the water and create an oxygen deficit in the water. Chemicals along with sewage makes for a very dangerous situation in the water. When sewage is discharged into a stream, dissolved oxygen is utilized by microorganisms as they metabolize and decompose organic substances from the wastewater (Nathanson & Schneider, 2015, p. 112). The microbes exert a biochemical oxygen demand. The biochemical oxygen demand causes the dissolved oxygen level in the stream to gradually drop (Nathanson & Schneider, 2015, p. 112).

Due to soil erosion the runoff of water will speed up the eutrophication process of waterways. Eutrophication is the inevitable and continual aging of a lake. The process of nutrient enrichment and gradual filling in of a lake is a natural process called eutrophication (Nathanson & Schneider, 2015, p. 114). Nutrient and sediment loadings into lakes increased significantly as agricultural practices (e.g. enhanced drainage, increased fertilization, and concentrated livestock production) intensified in the 1950s (Jacobson, P. (2017, August, p. 1). About one third of the country’s population lives within 5 miles of a lake (Nathanson & Schneider, 2015, p. 115). Sewage effluents and surface runoff carry large amounts of plant nutrients into these lakes, accelerating the eutrophication process (Nathanson & Schneider, 2015, p. 115).

There are numerous types of groundwater pollutions. One form of groundwater pollution is subsurface sewage disposal systems. It is estimated that more than 1 trillion gallons of sewage enter the ground each year through on-site disposal systems (Nathanson & Schneider, 2015, p. 118). Not all the systems work properly which allows fecal bacteria and virus contamination in private wells (Nathanson & Schneider, 2015, p. 118). Fertilizers and pesticides are the most significant groundwater contaminants, which are from agricultural activities (Nathanson & Schneider, 2015, p. 119).

I am not sure of the methods of water treatment in my area, but I researched typical municipal water treatment methods. Removing contaminants from water in order for it to become drinking water is a large task for most municipalities, but it is a very important process that helps keeps people from being exposed and becoming sick. The water must first be pumped and contained. After the water is contained it must be screened to remove large debris such as sticks, leaves, trash and other large particles (Filtronics, municipal & industrial filtration systems, 2013). The water must then be stored, pre-conditioned, and pre-chlorinated (Filtronics, municipal & industrial filtration systems, 2013). After those steps are performed the secondary treatment steps are performed. They include pH adjustment, coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, filtration (Filtronics, municipal & industrial filtration systems, 2013). Disinfection is normally the last step of the process, which is the use chlorine, chlorine dioxide, chloramines, ozone, and UV radiation (Filtronics, municipal & industrial filtration systems, 2013).


Nathanson, J. & Schneider, R., (2015), Basic environmental technology, water supply, waste management, and pollution control (6th ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson

(Krause, C. (2003, October) Mock Village on Farmland Will Measure Runoff Effects on Water Quality. Journal of Environmental Health, p. 43). Retrieved from: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.libraryresources.columbiasouthern.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=3&sid=2aedd6d3-6aca-447c-a3db-8c0d621485fb%40pdc-v-sessmgr04

(Jacobson, P. (2017, August, p. 1). Retrieved from: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.libraryresources.columbiasouthern.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=7&sid=4570769c-81ca-45a5-b982-d251c4608828%40sessionmgr103

(Filtronics, municipal & industrial filtration systems, 2013) Retrieved from: http://filtronics.com/blog/tertiary-treatment/stages-in-typical-municipal-water-treatment/

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