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Flashcards in chapter 15,22,24 EXAM Deck (37):

clean water act

1972, used regulatory and non-regulatory tools to protect all surface waters in the U.S

-issued water quality standards that defined acceptable limits of various pollutants
-reduced direct pollutant discharges into waterways
-financed municipal wastewater treatment facilities and manages polluted runoff
-achieved the broader goal of restoring and maintaining the chemical, physical and biological integrity of water
-protected of marine life and recreation in and on the water


safe drinking water act

1974 & 1996, established a federal program to monitor and increase the safety of the drinking water supply. it does NOT apply to wells that supply fewer than 25 people

-sets the national standard for water
-responsible for establishing maximum contaminant levels (MCL) for many elements in groundwater and surface water


biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)

the amount of oxygen a quantity of water uses over a period of time at a specific temperature. the rate a which bacteria absorbs oxygen from the water.

-lower BOD values indicate the water is less polluted and higher values mean more pollution



an abundance of fertility to a body of water
-CAUSED by an increase of nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen
-CAUSES rapid growth of algae which causes increase in BOD organisms


thermal inversion

-air pollutants become trapped over cities because they are not able to rise into the atmosphere
-air above the city is warm and blocks the polluted air form rising


septic tank systems

a large container thats receives wastewater and domestic sewage in rural and suburban

-separates liquids from solids areas
-digests organic matter and large solids
-discharges wastes in a networked of buried pipes


sewage treatment plants

centralized plants in areas with large populations thats receive wastewater via a network of pipes

primary treatment: physical processes to remove wastes
secondary treatment: biological processes (bacteria)
advanced treatment: chemical and physical processes


colorado river basin

provides electricity for hydroelectric power plants, recreation and irrigation

-supplies for some of the driest places in U.S
-more water is promised than it can actually supply
-equipped with a lot of dams and withdrawals that the water usually does not reach the ocean
-siltation in large reservoirs.



cleaning and using materials over and over to increase the typical life span of a product (using a product more than once)

-reduces use of matter and energy resources
-cuts pollution and wastes
-creates local jobs
-saves money

examples: salvaging automobile parts from junkyards, reusing bricks, doors and woodwork from old houses




reprocessing discarded solid materials into new, useful products (materials are collected and converted into raw materials and then used to produce new objects)

primary/closed loop: recycled into products of the same type (turing aluminum cans into new aluminum cans)

secondary: converting waste materials into different products



waste minimization or prevention


remediation of oil spills

-booms to keep floating oil from spreading
-chemicals (dispersants) that help break up the oil beef it hits the shoreline
-genetically engineered bacteria that consumes oil
-burning surface oil (bad consequences bc of smoke)

*screens do not work for oil spills*


using sewage sludge as fertilizer

using organic material that has decomposed under controlled conditions to produce on organic rich materials

-causes agricultural runoff


water quality act

1987, control pollution of a country's surface waters


gray water

- about 50-75% of the water from bathtubs, showers, bathroom sinks, and clothes washers in a typical house could be stored and reused as GRAY WATER for irrigating lawns and no edible plants
-about 2/3 of the wastewater in Israel is reused this way


Household Water Use in US

Toilet > bathing > laundry > cooking and drinking


biological oxygen demand (BOD)

-the amount of dissolved oxygen consumed by aquatic decomposers


point source

-discharge pollutants at specific locations through drain pipes, ditches, or sewer lines into bodies of surface water

ex: factories, sewage, treatment plants, underground mines and oil tankers


non-point source

-scattered and diffused discharge that cannot be traced to any single site

ex: acid deposition and runoff of chemicals into surface water from croplands, livestock feedlots, logged forests, urban streets, lawns, golf courses and parking lots


where is most U.S solid waste disposed of?

-55% landfills
-30% recycle/compost
-15% incinerator


oxygen depleted zones/dead zones

-form mostly in temperate coastal waters and in land locked seas
-these zones cause most of the aquatic life living there to die or have to switch habitats

ways to reduce these zones:
-reducing nitrogen inputs into water
-planting forests and grasslands to soak up excess nitrogen and keep it out of waterways
- restoring coastal wetlands
-reducing discharge and reduce the burning of fossil fuels


cultural eutrophication

when human activity can greatly accelerate the input of plant nutrients to a lake


acid rain

-sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulates can react in the atmosphere to produce acidic chemicals that can travel long distances before returning to the earths surface
-remain in atmosphere for 2-14 days, spending on wind, precipitation, and other weather
- wet deposition: rain, snow, fog, cloud vapor with a ph less than 5.6
- dry deposition
- most dry deposition occurs within 2-3 days fairly near the emission sources


major components of MSW

60% residences
40% commercial and institutional

composition of municipal waste:
- 31% paper
- 33% organic materials
- 12% plastic
- 18% durable goods

-food scraps
-paper (31%-38%)
-yard trimmings



- the process of burning waste materials to reduce its VOLUME and MASS
- could be also used to generate electricity and heat


oxygen demanding wastes

-organic material that are usually biodegraded by aerobic bacteria if there is enough dissolved oxygen


reverse osmosis

-pumping salt water through a membrane with pores that allows water molecules to pass through, but not dissolved salts


infectious agents

AKA pathogens which cause diseases and sicknesses
(bacteria, viruses,parasites)


diseases caused by water pollution

cholera: caused by raw sewage in drinking water

hepatitis and typhoon fever: caused by contaminants in food and water



-harmful to children

-found in lead gasoline and household paints in about 100 countries

-contaminates water through pipes

-DOES NOT break down in the environment

-causes nervous systems impairments (paralysis, blindness, mental retardation)


CERCLA / superfund

-puts a tax on chemicals and petroleum industries and the revenue is used to clean-up abandoned and non-operating waste sites where a responsible party cannot be found

-requires the federal govt. to respond directly to the release of a substance that many prove a threat


RCRA (resource conservation and recovery act)

-designed to reduce or eliminate hazardous waste

-"cradle to grave" tracking, entire that a hazardous waste is tracked and properly disposed of.



-released into the environment mostly by burning coal and incinerating wastes but is also found in thermometers, dental fillings, fungicides, insecticides , dry-cell batteries and electrical equipment

-once in atmosphere it is converted into a more toxic inorganic and organic mercury compounds

-humans can inhale vaporized elemental mercury or when it travels through fish populations (biomagnification)

-minimata disease in japan (high mercury reservoirs in asia)


bhopal, india

the world's worst industrial accident (1984)

-an underground storage tank exploded and released a large amount of highly toxic MIC gas. In the atmosphere the MIC converted into a more deadly hydrogen cyanide gas.

-many people died immediately, and an even larger amount suffer from chronic illness and permeant injuries.


love canal

-steel drums of chemical wastes were duped into the canal

love canal was then covered with clay and a town was built over it. the people living there however, complained abut smelling chemicals and about the chemicals burns they were receiving. the town was relocated because of these health effects.

-sparked the creation of the superfund law (CERCLA)



biological way to treat hazardous wastes
-uses natural or genetically engineered plants to absorb, filter and remove contaminants from polluted soil and water.


oxygen sag curve

-the breakdown of degradable wastes by bacteria depletes dissolved oxygen

-recues or eliminates populations of organisms w high oxygen requirements until the stream is cleansed of wastes