Facts about Water Pollution

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1.Quality of Water

An estimated 44% of stream miles, 30% of estuarine and bay square miles and 64% of lake acres in the United States do not have clean water ideal for swimming and fishing. Only about 28% of all stream water in the country contains healthy and ideal biological communities in comparison to other possible conditions in their localities.

 2.Major Pollutants

Mercury, bacteria and nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus are some of the top water pollutants in the United States. In addition, low amounts of dissolved oxygen resulting from decomposing organic material make water making unsuitable for human and animal consumption.

 3.Major Sources of Water Pollution

In the United States, there are various sources of water pollution. These include agricultural runoff, air deposition and hydrologic modifications. Agricultural runoff has to do with wash off farming chemical from agricultural farms to streams and other water catchments while hydrologic modifications involves channeling of streams and diversion of water.

 4.Water Pollution through Urban Runoff

Urban runoff consist storm water from parking lots, streets and other paved areas. Runoff water from these areas directly carries pollution chemicals into rivers, bays and lakes. Impervious city block surfaces are capable of generating up to five times more runoff water than wooded surfaces of a similar size.

 5.Absorption Rate of Rain Water in Natural and Urban Environments

In purely natural environments, about 50% of rain water gets absorbed into the ground while 10% of the water runs off and 40% gets evapotranspired. In urban areas where more than 75% of the surfaces are impervious, only 15% of water gets absorbed into the ground, 55% of the water runs off as 30% gets evapotranspired.

 6.How Urban Runoff Water gets to Water Bodies

In urban setups, rain water washes off oil, sediment, grease, toxic chemicals from pesticides, motor vehicles, fertilizes used in lawns, bacteria and pathogens from leaking septic tanks and pet waste, as well heavy metals and road salts from the streets. All these pollutants are carried off into lakes, rivers and bays untreated polluting the waters therein.

 7.How Agricultural Runoff Pollutes Water Bodies

Agricultural runoff is one of the major water pollution sources in streams, rivers, lakes and estuaries. The rising use of phosphorus, nitrogen and other fertilizer nutrients in the Mississippi Basin has increased the amount of pollutants that are washed down into the Mississippi River and carried down to the Gulf of Mexico.

8.Effects  of Hypoxia and Nutrient Pollutants in the Gulf of Mexico

The large amounts of nutrient pollutants lead to the formation huge algal blooms that eventually die then decompose in the water body. Their decomposition reduces amounts of dissolved oxygen inside the water significantly. This creates hypoxic zones that are mostly referred to as dead zones. Organisms cannot live in these zones. The Gulf of Mexico is the second biggest dead zone in the world with over 400 dead zones identified so far across the world.

 9.Water Pollution resulting from Wetland Destruction

Wetlands contribute to water availability and quality through recharging of groundwater, and filtration of surface water runoff. They serve as reservoirs for natural carbon dioxide and capture carbon in the atmosphere as well as a source of treatment for waste water. More than 50% of wetlands in the United States’ conterminous areas have been destroyed since colonial times. Through the trend shows a slight improvement in terms of wetland area across the country, the U.S lost about 59000 acres of important wetlands in the Eastern Coast each.

 10.Water Pollution by Marine Debris

Marine debris include solid materials such as soda cans, cigarette butts, plastic bags and bottles that are disposed indirectly or directly in aquatic environments. These pollute water and threaten marine life and public safety.

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