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Env Science Week 14

Week 14 Vocabulary for Environmental Science

Water pollution when the water cycle is contaminated by the introduction of chemicals, biological materials and/or other dangerous substances
point source pollution Pollutants are discharged directly into the water, such as from a factory, oil tanker, or wastewater treatment plant (the source can be identified easily)
nonpoint source pollution Pollutants are discharged indirectly into the water, such as from oil that washes away from a parking lot when it rains or agricultural runoff (the source cannot be identified easily)
Pathogens infectious agents (bacteria, viruses, and parasitic organisms) that can cause disease and death
Organic Wastes organic matter, such as manure or sewage
decomposers organisms such as bacteria and fungi that break waste down
eutrophication The process of rapid plant or algae growth followed by increased activity by decomposers and a depletion of the oxygen level in a body of water (usually caused by fertilizer runoff)
Inorganic chemicals include heavy metals (lead, mercury, arsenic, nickel), acids (sulfuric acid), acid precipitation (sulfuric and nitric acids) and road salts
Organic chemicals Compounds like detergents, oils, pesticides and solvents
Sediments Sand, silt, clay and topsoil that are eroded and enter waterways and cause problems
Thermal Pollution can occur when water is used as a coolant near a power or industrial plant and then is returned to the aquatic environment at a higher temperature than it was originally
Radioactive Wastes Wastes from the erosion of naturally occurring radioactive rock, mining, nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons testing
Hypoxia the depletion of oxygen from a body of water to the point that animal life is harmed or killed
hypoxic zone sometimes called the Dead Zone because fish and other animals are killed by the lack of sufficient oxygen in the water
Clean Water Act (CWA) this act was to "restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters." The goal was to make all surface waters clean enough for fishing and swimming.
Septic systems small scale sewage treatment systems where there is no available hook up to a city system
Sewage the wastewater released by residences, businesses and industries in a community
biodegradable capable of being broken down into harmless products by the actions of living organisms, such as bacteria
Conventional sewage treatment an expensive process that uses a lot of energy to make wastewater safe for discharge
Urban runoff water that flows down streets and into storm drains
Arcata artificial wetlands waste treatment plant a more natural and less expensive approach to sewage treatment, takes place in oxidation ponds and artificial marshes
Created by: jodytwining