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APES Ch. 14 Vocab

Water Pollution - AP Environmental Science, Chapter 14

TermDefinition
Water pollution The contamination of streams, rivers, lakes, oceans, or groundwater with substances produced by human activities and that negatively affect organisms
Point-source pollution Comes from a specific location such as a factory that pumps its waste into a nearby stream or a sewage treatment plant that discharges wastewater into the ocean
Nonpoint-source pollution Comes from diffuse areas such as an entire farming region
Wastewater Water produced by human activities, including human sewage from toilets and grey water from washing clothes and dishes - keeping it from contaminating drinking water is difficult
Oxygen-demanding waste Organic matter that enters a body of water and feeds the growth of microbes that are decomposers - because these microbes require oxygen to decompose the waste, they use up more oxygen
Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) The amount of oxygen a quantity of water uses over a period of time at a specific temperature - lower BOD values indicate less pollution
Dead zones Areas where there is little oxygen and little life (self-perpetuating because they cause organisms to die and demand more oxygen)
Eutrophication An abundance of fertility in a water body
Cultural eutrophication When a body of water experiences an increase in fertility due to anthropogenic inputs of nutrients
Indicator species An organism that indicates whether or not disease-causing pathogens are likely to be present
Fecal coliform bacteria The best indicators for potentially harmful water (ex: E. coli) - usually harmless bacteria that live in intestines
Septic system A personal sewage treatment system that contains a septic tank and a leach field - found mostly in rural areas
Septic tank A large container that receives wastewater from the house - water flows in one end, forms three layers (scum, water, sludge), before flowing out the other end
Sludge layer Anything heavier than water that sinks in a septic tank
Septage The layer of fairly clear water in a septic tank
Leach field The pipes that the water flows into after being in a septic tank and the field it's absorbed in
Manure lagoons Large, human-made ponds lined with rubber where manure is broken down by bacteria so it can be spread on fields as fertilizer
Lead A heavy metal that contaminates water flowing through old pipes - can cause brain, nervous system, and kidney damage primarily in infants and fetuses
Arsenic A compound that occurs naturally in Earth's crust and can easily dissolve into groundwater, leading to high concentrations - associated with cancer development
Mercury A heavy metal that we produce primarily by burning coal - we consume methylmercury primarily through fish, and it can damage the CNS of young children
Acid deposition Sulfuric and nitric acid from smokestacks that return to Earth several miles away
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) Industrial compounds used in manufacturing plastics and insulating electrical transformers until 1979 - carcinogens that still persist in the environment
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) Flame retardants added to a wide variety of items to decrease flammability but that has been found in fish, aquatic birds, human breast milk, etc.
Non-chemical water pollution Solid waste pollution (garbage), sediment pollution (can decrease the amount of water entering natural waterways), thermal pollution (when human activities cause a substantial change in the temperature of water)
Thermal shock A dramatic change in temperature that can kill many species
Clean Water Act Supports the protection and propagation of fish, shellfish, wildlife, and recreation, by maintaining/restoring chemical, physical, and biological properties or natural waters - also defines acceptable amounts of pollution
Safe Drinking Water Act Sets the national standards for safe drinking water and establishes maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for 77 elements in surface and groundwater
Created by: emilyjane1221