Water pollution comes from many different sources.
One type of water pollution is storm water pollution. The water runs down the street when it storms and it goes into storm drains. The storm drains keep the streets from flooding. When you wash your car or water your grass, the water runs down the storm drain, too. This is called urban runoff. City sewage, industry, and run-off from farms also pollutes the water.
Be careful! Do not
let trash, oil, or other pollutants go into the storm
drain because it goes directly into streams and rivers
without being cleaned. The water will eventually go into
How is Water Cleaned?
This photo is an example of point source
pollution. It is a drainage pipe that is sending coal sludge
right into a creek that flows into the Cahaba River. The mining company responsible for the pollution was recently shut down.
Our Story - The Slurry Sludge Spill
Our Story - The Orange Creek
Drawing by Daniel
This kind of pollution cannot be traced to one single source. It is very hard to tell how much pollution there is or where it is coming from. Nonpoint source pollution comes from rain, washing the car, or watering crops or even a lawn. This water is called runoff and it picks up all kinds of things like oil, dirt from roadways, chemicals, pesticides, animal waste, and other toxic materials. It ends up in the waterways. Sometimes it may run off a bridge right into a river. It can flow down a hill into a river, too. It is the major source of water pollution in our waterways.
Drawing by Daniel
Some nonpoint source pollution comes from the roadways.
In the 1970's many pollution laws were passed. One important law passed in 1972 is called The Clean Water Act. It is a series of laws that govern water pollution. The water in the United States is much cleaner now because of the Clean Water Act .
The EPA has programs to control point and nonpoint source pollution to beach areas, too. They have laws and regulations that prohibit the direct discharge of pollutants (point source pollution) to water bodies.
Dirt slides into the water from hillsides when it rains. Dirt can also come from the streets, roadways, bridges, and sidewalks. It ends up in the water. The dirt makes the water cloudy and the fish and other organisms find it difficult to breathe. This is why fish might move to a cleaner waterway. Aquatic macroinvertebrates, however, do not move away.
Estuaries in a watershed are affected by pollution, too. Habitats in estuaries are a great natural resource. When people build waterfront homes, the mangrove shoreline and underwater grassbeds are destroyed. The water becomes polluted and the wildlife find another habitat. The young fish, shrimp, and crabs do not have habitats or feeding areas, so they disappear.
Drawing by Sarah
Did you Know?
In 2006 the Environmental Protection Agency published a report about wadeable streams in the United States. A wadeable stream is shallow enough for people to get water samples without a boat. They studied 1,392 streams from the years 2000 to 2004.
The EPA found that the western part of the United States had streams that were in the best condition. The really important thing they found is that humans could cause some trouble for the streams. Causing the most trouble was nitrogen, phosphorus, and streambed sediments. All three keep aquatic habitats from being healthy and make trouble for fish and other aquatic life. Nitrogen and phosphorus make algae grow, cause low levels of dissolved oxygen, and cloud the water. Read more about this in the EPA Newsroom.
Guess what contains nitrogen and phosphorus? Pet or animal poop. When it rains it runs into our waterways and can destroy their health. This is one reason it is important to scoop the poop!
|Wildlife habitats are important no matter where you go. According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, a study shows that over a 40 year period, the mangrove habitat that provides a place for fish to live has declined by 86%. The study showed 30% loss of seagrass acreage.
What is the EPA? A part of the U.S. Federal Government that makes sure the laws about the environment are carried out. The EPA provides information and lets law makers and the public know what is going on with environmental issues.
|The United States Environmental Protection Agency helped the Slovak Environmental Agency ( SEA ) get started. The SEA was established in 1993. The main purpose is to help plan ways to monitor and protect the environment.
Remind your parents to...
- Use a bucket when the car is washed.
- Use soap that is biodegradable.
- Quickly clean up any chemicals that might be spilled .
- Use less water.
- Don't ever flush chemicals down the toilet or pour them outside.
- Participate in collection programs for getting rid of toxic substances.
- Use native grasses that do not need a lot of fertilizer.
- Don't use too much fertilizer.
- Do not fertilize if a big rain is coming.
- Clean pet poop out of the yard or when you take your dog for a walk.
- Watch out for harmful pesticides. Use natural pesticides if possible.
- Put trash in trash cans.
Drawing by Breanne
More Do's and Don'ts Around the Home