National Geographic Education Blog

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water pollution mini project

Teaching a PBL Unit on Water Transformed Our Students’ Learning

This post is transcribed from an interview with educators Debbie Holman and Nicole Orswell.

Next year we’ll be teaching in a new middle-high school designed to encourage project-based learning (PBL). So, when given the opportunity to run a small PBL cohort this year, we thought: Why not give it a try? Let’s dip our toes in and share what we learn with the rest of the staff.

Our goal is to inspire learners to engage in authentic learning opportunities out in the world and to make the world a better place. In the process, our students have become more excited about school, and the cohort has become like a family.

Since the start of the school year, our 27-student cohort has spent most of their in-school time together. They go to math with Debbie, science with Debbie, social studies with Nicole, and English with Nicole. Then they have an elective. At the end of the day there’s an advisory period, for which Nicole is their teacher again.

The connections they’ve formed with one another are something to behold. We know kids often need to feel connected in order to experience success in school. If they don’t feel connected, why learn? Relationships with their peers and their teachers are critical. This PBL approach has fostered those connections among our huge variety of learners. Plus, the atmosphere is such that if someone walked into the classroom during math time, they wouldn’t be able to tell who’s who. It wouldn’t be obvious that that kid has an individualized education program, for example, because the students are all learning and helping and collaborating and communicating.

“Project-based learning has given some of our students with disabilities a chance to showcase their strengths in engaging in meaningful, hands-on experiences,” Molly Walker told us. Molly is an Integrated Services teacher at our school, Wellington Middle-High School in Wellington, Colorado. She added, “I have had the opportunity to work with these students for a couple of years and the growth and learning they are able to demonstrate through this model of instruction is incredible.”

Because the cohort is like a family, we all know everybody’s personality. Students know how the others learn. There are times when somebody will be trying to learn something and one of their partners will say, “Dude, you learn best when you look at pictures. Why don’t you look at a picture?” They help each other according to the way each of them learns, and they show one another so much support. The other day, a student was tripping over their words as they were speaking, and three kids in the class said, “It’s OK. Slow down.” “It’s OK. We got you.”

This PBL model also provides added flexibility, which is valuable, because learning doesn’t always happen in 80-minute or 55-minute increments of time. If one of us is not finished with something, we can switch kids. One of us can say, “Hey, they’re not done with their portfolios. Can they please finish those up in fourth period?” and the other can say, “Sure, let them finish.”

We focused our first unit on water and were guided by the essential question, “How does water scarcity and availability affect our community and other communities around the world?”

In the first stage of the unit, students carried a large bucket of water to a nearby irrigation ditch, as a way of building empathy for people without easy access to water. This set the students up to read the book A Long Walk to Water . While at the ditch, they also made environmental observations and collected samples to test for indicators of life.

In the second stage of the unit, students used the “ Water Inequality ” entry from National Geographic’s Resource Library as their anchor article. Then, we held a question-asking session to set students’ focus and ignite their curiosity. Some of the questions relating to water issues that they asked were: How does water get to us so fast? What makes water clean—or not? How do different types of pipes affect water? And, how does climate change affect water quality?

In the third stage , students formed groups to research a water-related topic and present it to their peers. The topics ranged from the water cycle to water-borne diseases to drought. This stage also included a math component, in which students used cell size to study proportions and ratios and applied fractions to understand the amount of water on Earth.

In the fourth stage , students visualized the data they had compiled by creating a piece of art and accompanying artist’s statement. Then, in the fifth and final stage , they exhibited their artwork in the school and in Flipgrid presentations. Here is a selection of their projects, which include, clockwise from top left, a water truck, a plastic sculpture inspired by marine pollution, a colorful representation of biomagnification of DDT, and a handmade water filtration system:

water pollution mini project

This PBL model encourages a more fluid kind of education. It’s not math class and science class and English class. It’s simply learning. Our water unit was grounded in standards from multiple subjects, but students experienced the learning in a more seamless fashion. As a result, we were able to be more adaptable in how we worked with students. As an example, early in the year in English class some students insisted they couldn’t read, they couldn’t answer these questions, they couldn’t do it. The next day, we did the same exact thing—reading and answering questions—but they were in social studies class, and all of a sudden it was no big deal. Nicole was like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a minute. You’re doing the same thing in social studies and English.” So she took away the labels.

With more than half a year of experience under our belts, we’d offer the following tips for other educators interested in introducing project-based learning in their schools:

  • Trust the process . It’s very overwhelming. You may think I don’t know how to do this . Remember, though, that kids are naturally curious, and they will come through. They will start researching on their own. So you can afford to let go of some control and relax.
  • Look at what other people are doing . There are lots of resources out there. Whether you use National Geographic’s PBL resources or those from the Buck Institute , which is a great PBL institute, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are examples of great projects out there, so take inspiration from what’s around you.
  • Ask for help . We needed the art teacher to come in and talk to our students about the art and artist’s statement portions of the water unit, because we didn’t know how.
  • Start small . You don’t have to run a semester-long project. Students could make inspirational posters for the building, or you could work with a volunteer at the beginning.
  • Learn to live with mistakes . We all make them, and it’s OK.

Often we find we have an antiquated educational system. Learners are supposed to come into a room, sit down, and do a worksheet. They’re learning skills that often aren’t relevant to their world or to what they’ll do later on. We ask ourselves: How are we preparing our learners? Are we teaching them compliance, or are we giving them opportunities to thrive through authentic learning opportunities? Our position is: Let’s get kids in the world. Let’s get them involved. Let’s get them talking to Explorers. Let’s get them thinking critically, collaborating, and practicing the soft skills that will benefit them in the future, no matter what.

For more inspiration and practical guidance for bolstering your teaching practice, enroll in one of National Geographic’s free, award-winning professional learning courses. For those new to National Geographic’s professional learning offerings for educators, we recommend you begin with our mini-courses on the Explorer Mindset and Geographic Thinking Skills .

Debbie Holman has been in education for 19 years as a middle and high school science and math teacher and leader. She is a passionate, connected educator and advocate of problem-based teaching and learning. Debbie works with and in the community to bring authentic learning opportunities to learners. You can connect with her on Twitter or by email .

Nicole Orswell has been in education for 28 years as a middle school English teacher. She continues to challenge herself every day to try new things in her classroom to meet kids where they are and help them become great humans! She was born to be a teacher and considers it the best profession in the world. When not changing the world through education, Nicole loves to travel, read, and play disc golf.

All photos courtesy of Debbie Holman

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Participatory Science Water Projects

Why is water quality monitoring important.

Water is an essential part of everyday life, whether for drinking, recreation, or irrigation. Ensuring access to clean and safe water is an EPA priority. Water quality monitoring is very common among participatory science activities and communities across the U.S. are working to investigate their local water quality concerns. 

EPA has supported many projects addressing a wide variety of water quality concerns such as harmful algal blooms, drinking water quality, storm water runoff, and ocean acidification issues.

On this page: 

  • Highlighted Projects 
  • Water Project Resources 

See some great water-focused projects below:

More resources.

  • EPA StoryMap on Participatory Science

Between Two Worlds Science Program

Citizen scientists huddled together next to a waterbody

The Between Two Worlds Indigenous Science program educates Swinomish Indian Tribe youth on natural resources management, including salmon recovery, water quality, and habitat restoration. 

Learn more about Between Two Worlds.

Proctor Creek Watershed Community Science

Community group holding poster board

Communities near Proctor Creek suffer public health threats due to flooding and pathogens from sewage overflow. In 2013, the Urban Waters Federal Partnership was created to promote community efforts for socio-economic and ecological revitalization. 

Learn more about Proctor Creek.

South Carolina Adopt-a-Stream (SC-AS) Program

citizen scientist conducting water monitoring

South Carolina's Adopt-a-Stream program seeks to protect local waterways through volunteer water quality and habitat monitoring. A mobile-friendly database houses the collected data and shares information with resource managers. 

Learn more about SC-AS.

Chesapeake Bay Monitoring Cooperative

view of a coastline at sunset

The  Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative trains community members to collect water quality and macroinvertebrate data in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Data is used to assess the Watershed's health.

Learn more about the Chesapeake Monitoring project.  

Resilience and Adaptation in New England (RAINE)

a group of citizen scientists collecting water samples

In 2016, EPA started a project that engages community stakeholders in assessing the vulnerability of Mattapoisett, Massachusetts' drinking water to salt water intrusion from sea level rise and storm surges and has created interactive maps of flood scenarios  (photo by Cynthia Naha) . 

Learn more about RAINE.

Charles River Monthly Monitoring River Science Program

water monitoring equipment held above a river

In Massachusetts, the Charles River Monthly Monitoring Science program engages volunteer community scientists in collecting water quality samples and participating in restoration projects such as invasive species removals. 

Learn more about the Charles River Science Program.

Resources for Water Projects

Volunteer water quality monitoring .

Volunteers from many local organizations collect water quality data to improve the health of water bodies. 

  • The  Water Quality Exchange (WQX)  is the mechanism for data partners to  submit  water monitoring data to EPA.
  • The  Water Quality Portal (WQP)  is the mechanism for anyone, including the public, to   retrieve   water monitoring data from EPA.
  • The Water Data Collaborative  unites community water scientists data generators who employ best available practices and technologies to provide data that enable the protection and restoration of our nation’s waterways. 
  • The National Water Quality Monitoring Council serves data collected by over 400 state, federal, tribal, and local agencies through the Water Quality Portal

Cyanobacteria Monitoring 

There are three ways the public can get involved in monitoring for cyanobacteria through the  Cyanobacteria Monitoring Collaborative  and provide crucial information to government agencies that help address harmful algal blooms.

  • Crowdsourcing to find and report cyanobacteria blooms through the  bloomWatch App
  • Mapping cyanobacteria to help understand where and when cyanobacteria species occur through  cyanoScope
  • Monitoring cyanobacteria populations over time to help track seasonal patterns of cyanobacteria through  cyanoMonitoring

Sanitary Surveys

  • Sanitary surveys are a method of investigating the sources of fecal contamination to a waterbody.   The EPA Sanitary Survey App for Marine and Fresh Waters  helps waterbody managers evaluate all contributing waterbody and watershed information including water quality data, pollution source data, and land use data. Visit the Sanitary Surveys for Recreational Waters page

Drinking Water Infrastructure

  • Crowd the Tap is an EPA-funded project that promotes access to safe drinking water by assisting individuals and groups with investigations of pipe materials that deliver drinking water to homes. Join the Crowd the Tap project

Waterbody Quality

  • Want to learn about your local waterbodies?  EPA's How's My Waterway  is an interactive website and map that provides information about the condition of your local waters based on data that states,  federal, tribal, local agencies and others have provided to EPA. 
  • Participatory Science Home
  • Water Projects
  • Air Projects
  • Tribal Projects
  • Projects for Other Environmental Concerns
  • EPA’s Equipment Loan Programs
  • Quality Assurance Toolkit

Water Pollution

Recent publications and news, sociodemographic factors are associated with the abundance of pfas sources and detection in u.s. community water systems, freshwater fish found to have high levels of ‘forever chemicals’, nitrifying microorganisms linked to biotransformation of perfluoroalkyl sulfonamido precursors from legacy aqueous film-forming foams, soil and water pollution and human health: what should cardiologists worry about, the utility of machine learning models for predicting chemical contaminants in drinking water: promise, challenges, and opportunities., more harvard resources.

Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling Group

Environmental Health Water Pollution Faculty & Researchers

  • Joel Schwartz 
  • Elsie Sunderland

News from the School

Air pollution and cardiovascular hospitalization

Air pollution and cardiovascular hospitalization

Unlocking new information about vaginal health

Unlocking new information about vaginal health

‘I’m going to fix everyone’

‘I’m going to fix everyone’

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STEAM Powered Family

STEM Water Projects and Science Experiments For Kids

50+ STEM Water Science Experiments and STEM Projects for Kids in Elementary – play, educate and grow with nature’s favourite drink

Water is one of the greatest mediums for exploring science. It’s easy to work with, it’s readily available, it’s safe and kids love playing with it. It is impossible not to have fun while learning with water. Are you looking for some great ideas for water projects in your class, homeschool or home? Find inspiration on this list of over 50 fun science experiments and water projects for kids!

The Best Water Science Experiments for Kids

What you will discover in this article!

Water projects and Science Experiments

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To make navigating this resource easier, I have divided all of our water projects and STEM activities into some general categories.

CHEMISTRY WATER EXPERIMENTS

Bath Bombs or Bath Fizzies are the ultimate in bath time fun! They are also an exceptional chemistry experiment. You can simply make a bath bomb and see how water is the magic ingredient to trigger the reaction, or do a science experiment exploring the effect of water temperature on bath bomb reactions .

Bath Bomb Science Fair Project

Water Lab Exploring Safe Drinking Water is a science experiment that turns students into water testers with an eye for safety. Using water sources around your home or school you can easily set up this activity and in the process learn a valuable lesson about how precious safe water is for families everywhere. For more testing ideas you can check out this article .

Water STEM Lab - An activity for kids exploring what makes water safe with hands on exploration and discovery. A great STEM and safe drinking water lesson.

What’s the difference between baking soda and baking powder? Learn the answer in this experiment. Take water and add sodium bicarbonate or baking powder. Watch the results to see something spectacular!

What's the difference between baking powder and baking soda? Find out in this epic science experiment of eruptions!

Super Simple Chemistry is a kid favourite activity that explores how different substances mix with water. Not everything dissolves, start exploring these ideas with this simple activity.

Super Simple Chemistry Kids Love - For the home, classroom, camp or troop, this fun chemistry kids activity is educational, messy, fun!

Learn about pH (acidic and basic) properties with this fun fluids experiment that uses items from your kitchen to create a fascinating lab study.

Using items from the kitchen this fascinating experiment explores Acids and Bases and pH Levels. Kids will love digging through the pantry to test out whether items are an acid or a base, and explore pH levels of every day items. An excellent elementary experiment for hands on with science with lots of further studies.

Elephant Toothpaste might not seem like a water science experiment at first, but this activity is actually really cool because one of the by products of the chemical reaction is water!

Elephant Toothpaste

WATER PROJECTS EXPLORING DENSITY

Skittles Experiments require only two things – Skittles and Water. It may be simple, but this is one water experiment that is stunningly gorgeous and will have kids begging for more science time! With our study we brought in Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night as a way to see fluid dynamics in action.

Skittles Experiment for the Science Fair inspired by Starry Night

The classic oil and water experiment is a fascinating way to introduce students the density, and in this experiment the results are beautiful!

oil and water experiment

Marble Run Density Project is a simple activity that explores the density of different liquids using marbles. It’s fun and accessible for all ages. Everyone loves a good race!

Simple Science: Exploring Denisty with Marble Races. A great way to see the effect of liquid density with stuff you have in your house right now.

Does It Float – Pop Can edition is a fascinating activity that demonstrates how the density of different canned drinks affects whether they float or not. The results are fun and this makes for a great activity during camp outs.

Do soda pop cans float or sink? The answer is a fun outdoor, camping STEM activity that is sure to wow!

Teaching The Scientific Process With Water Balloons – This is a fantastic idea for learning how to create scientific proof by exploring the science behind the “does it float pop can edition” experiment.

With this activity we are teaching the scientific process and encouraging kids to use inquiry based activities to prove theories.

COLOURFUL WATER PROJECTS

Chromatography Flowers is a super easy activity that even little kids will be able to do with minimal adult help. Watch how water helps colours travel through the coffee filter making pretty designs. For older kids, take the challenge up a level and light up your flowers with a simple circuit building activity.

With the popularity of our Circuit Bugs STEM Activity it was time to come up with something new, something with a little extra art. Introducing Circuit Flowers! Explore chromatography, diffusion, engineering and circuit building with this hands on STEAM activity. Great for mothers' day, spring, girls in STEM, and more!

Walking Rainbow – This was our attempt at the walking rainbow experiment but when things went wrong it became a whole new and exciting water science lesson.

The Walking Rainbow science experiment should have been easy, but due to a mistake we discovered a fascinating capillary action and natural balance project.

WINTER THEMED WATER PROJECTS FOR KIDS

It’s time to get chilly with this mind bending experiment. In Snow and Ice Simple Science – Melting Magic we ask kids to predict the outcome of a test that will have them saying WOW! when they see the outcome.

Snow Ice Simple Science is an experiment all ages can do and teaches valuable lessons about the molecular structure of water in ice form versus snowflake.

Why does salt melt ice? This STEM activity dives into some great winter science as it explores how salt affects ice.

A fascinating Winter STEM Activity for elementary kids exploring the effect of salt on ice. Significant results provide rewarding STEM hands-on learning.

Live somewhere cold? Explore the Mpemba Effect in a spectacular way as you create snow.

How to Make Snow and explore a cool property of water called the Mpemba Effect. It uses a little bit of science, a little bit of hot water, and a whole lot of cold to make this spectacular snow storm happen like magic.

Bottle Crush is a project that will have kids asking to go outside on a cold winter day over and over again. Like magic, kids will learn how to crush a plastic bottle without touching it, astounding their friends and family.

Bottle Crush - Crush a bottle with your mind, and a little science. Inspired by Mythbusters, a science experiment that seems like magic!

Ice Fishing Science Experiment – What is more winter than Ice Fishing? In this fun, hands on science, kids learn how salt and water interact as they go fishing for the big catch! A great challenge for a classroom or summer camp.

Ice fishing science experiment

SWEET WATER SCIENCE

Slurpee Science Continue exploring the power of salt and water with states of matter changes with this experiment that ends with a tasty treat.

Sweet slurpee science is a fantastic activity for kids, with a tasty result they will love. This simple heat transfer experiment is perfect for all ages.

Layered Lollipops is a fascinating study into density. Makes a beautiful experiment that smells amazing!

Layered Lollipops uses candy in a beautiful candy stem challenge

Lego Gummy Mummies is a project that explores what happens when water is removed, also known as desiccation which is part of the mummification process. It’s also an experiment using candy minifigs, so kids love it!

Lego Gummy Mummies are a unique experiment exploring desiccation. An excellent activity linking science and ancient historical cultures like the Egyptians.

ENGINEERING WITH WATER PROJECTS

Build A Water Clock and learn a bit about history with this easy STEM project. This project can be scaled for use by kids of all ages.

Water Clock STEM Activity

Ice STEM Projects explore all the amazing things you can do when water enters a solid state, better known as ice! The dinosaur ice sculpture is just too cute and kids will love engineering their own ice creations.

An Ice STEM Engineering Challenge that is fascinating and an inspiring learning opportunity. Perfect for homeschoolers and young scientists, with everything you need in one box.

Build a Compass and embrace your inner Einstein! Witness the invisible forces that captured a young Einstein’s imagination and led to a lifetime of incredible discoveries.

DIY compass

Build a Heart Model filled with water (aka blood) and explore how the blood moves around the heart.

This Heart STEM activity to build a functioning heart model uses all 4 STEM pillars - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Kids will spend some time learning about their own heart rates, then how blood flows through the body. For the exciting conclusion engineer and build a functioning model of a beating heart.

Engineer An Ice Lantern , perfect for the holidays.

Engineering A Christmas Ice Lantern - Holiday STEM activity

WATER PROJECTS THAT ARE LIKE MAGIC

Chasing Hearts – This science experiment is like magic as you explore science and physics principles, all while playing a fun game!

Chasing Hearts Valentine's Game is a fun challenge that has a science twist. Students will love watching the "magic" as their hearts lift and start to drift away. But using a little physics you can capture your hearts.

Keep it Dry – A slight of hand activity that kids of all ages love to take a turn at. Become a magical scientist!

Can you keep paper dry in water, even when it's completely submerged? You can if you understand the science in this magic meets science water project.

Why Does Water Rise? is an activity that is like magic! Kids love this STEM Activity that involves a little tech in the investigative process.

Why Does Water Rise? Best Science Experiments for Kids!

Build a Leak Proof Bag that is filled with water and pierced through with tons of pencils? Sounds impossible, but it’s not if you know the science!

ENVIRONMENTAL WATER PROJECTS FOR KIDS

Students get hands on with a major threat to our marine environments in this Oil Spill Cleanup Experiment .

Oil spill cleanup experiment for home or classroom

Learn about the Water Cycle in this simple science experiment in a jar. Perfect for students or as a classroom demonstration.

Water Cycle for Kids

In this experiment, explore how acid rain affects plant life . It is a simple experiment with powerful results.

Acid Rain Science Experiment

Next, we explore how water pollution affects plants . This is a simple experiment exploring the effects of water pollution in two different ways. Students learn about osmosis, pH and the scientific method.

A simple science experiment exploring the effects and damage caused by water pollution on flowers

The Water Desalinization Project is a interesting activity that explores how to remove the salt from salt water making it safe to drink.

A series of experiments exploring the properties of saltwater including a desalination science experiment (the removal of salt from saltwater).

This Fish Diving Activity is a neat way to explore how fish use air to help them move around underwater. A similar activity involves creating a Cartesian Diver .

SENSORY WATER PROJECTS

DIY Play Dough Bubble Bath is not a water project exactly, but it’s an inexpensive way to create some bubble bath play dough. Perfect for doing water projects with kids in the bath tub or at a water table.

DIY Play Dough Bubble Bath - Easy clean fun!

Oobleck is a captivating activity to explore the difference in liquids. With the addition of one ingredient to water you create the most bizarre substance. Oobleck projects are an excellent addition to the study of states of matter and the senses. We LOVE playing with Oobleck and have created dozens of fun ways to explore this non-Newtonian Fluid.

Oobleck Sensory Science

DIY Soap Projects , especially Soap Jellies are a fantastic sensory experience that will encourage kids to get clean! They are so much fun, and super easy to make. For an incredible cross study, make our DIY Layers of the Ocean soap and learn about the ocean with this gorgeous and easy soap making project.

Jelly Soap Making - Sparkly, Jiggly, Soapy Fun Jellies!

More Water Science Experiments

Explore why the Sky Changes Colour in this fascinating and simple science project demonstrating how the skies change colour during sunrise and sunset.

Sky Science is a simple experiment that answers one of childhoods biggest questions - Why is the sky blue and why does the sky change colors at sunset?

Another great project is the Rainbow Rain Project . Students will create a stunning display of colour in a jar to explore how clouds (made with shaving cream), hold and release moisture, creating rain! This project is GORGEOUS and so simple.

Rainbow Rain Shaving Cream Cloud in a Jar Experiment

Magic Glitter is a cool experiment that is also a powerful demonstration on how soap works and why it is so important to wash your hands with soap.

Magic Glitter Handwashing Demonstration

Have fun learning with nature’s most valuable liquid – water!

Water Pollution: Everything You Need to Know

Our rivers, reservoirs, lakes, and seas are drowning in chemicals, waste, plastic, and other pollutants. Here’s why―and what you can do to help.

Effluent pours out of a large pipe

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What Is Water Pollution?

What are the causes of water pollution, categories of water pollution, what are the effects of water pollution, what can you do to prevent water pollution.

Water pollution occurs when harmful substances—often chemicals or microorganisms—contaminate a stream, river, lake, ocean, aquifer, or other body of water, degrading water quality and rendering it toxic to humans or the environment.

This widespread problem of water pollution is jeopardizing our health. Unsafe water kills more people each year than war and all other forms of violence combined. Meanwhile, our drinkable water sources are finite: Less than 1 percent of the earth’s freshwater is actually accessible to us. Without action, the challenges will only increase by 2050, when global demand for freshwater is expected to be one-third greater than it is now.

Water is uniquely vulnerable to pollution. Known as a “universal solvent,” water is able to dissolve more substances than any other liquid on earth. It’s the reason we have Kool-Aid and brilliant blue waterfalls. It’s also why water is so easily polluted. Toxic substances from farms, towns, and factories readily dissolve into and mix with it, causing water pollution.

Here are some of the major sources of water pollution worldwide:

Agricultural

A small boat in the middle of a body of water that is a deep, vibrant shade of green

Toxic green algae in Copco Reservoir, northern California

Aurora Photos/Alamy

Not only is the agricultural sector the biggest consumer of global freshwater resources, with farming and livestock production using about 70 percent of the earth’s surface water supplies , but it’s also a serious water polluter. Around the world, agriculture is the leading cause of water degradation. In the United States, agricultural pollution is the top source of contamination in rivers and streams, the second-biggest source in wetlands, and the third main source in lakes. It’s also a major contributor of contamination to estuaries and groundwater. Every time it rains, fertilizers, pesticides, and animal waste from farms and livestock operations wash nutrients and pathogens—such bacteria and viruses—into our waterways. Nutrient pollution , caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus in water or air, is the number-one threat to water quality worldwide and can cause algal blooms , a toxic soup of blue-green algae that can be harmful to people and wildlife.

Sewage and wastewater

Used water is wastewater. It comes from our sinks, showers, and toilets (think sewage) and from commercial, industrial, and agricultural activities (think metals, solvents, and toxic sludge). The term also includes stormwater runoff , which occurs when rainfall carries road salts, oil, grease, chemicals, and debris from impermeable surfaces into our waterways

More than 80 percent of the world’s wastewater flows back into the environment without being treated or reused, according to the United Nations; in some least-developed countries, the figure tops 95 percent. In the United States, wastewater treatment facilities process about 34 billion gallons of wastewater per day . These facilities reduce the amount of pollutants such as pathogens, phosphorus, and nitrogen in sewage, as well as heavy metals and toxic chemicals in industrial waste, before discharging the treated waters back into waterways. That’s when all goes well. But according to EPA estimates, our nation’s aging and easily overwhelmed sewage treatment systems also release more than 850 billion gallons of untreated wastewater each year.

Oil pollution

Big spills may dominate headlines, but consumers account for the vast majority of oil pollution in our seas, including oil and gasoline that drips from millions of cars and trucks every day. Moreover, nearly half of the estimated 1 million tons of oil that makes its way into marine environments each year comes not from tanker spills but from land-based sources such as factories, farms, and cities. At sea, tanker spills account for about 10 percent of the oil in waters around the world, while regular operations of the shipping industry—through both legal and illegal discharges—contribute about one-third. Oil is also naturally released from under the ocean floor through fractures known as seeps.

Radioactive substances

Radioactive waste is any pollution that emits radiation beyond what is naturally released by the environment. It’s generated by uranium mining, nuclear power plants, and the production and testing of military weapons, as well as by universities and hospitals that use radioactive materials for research and medicine. Radioactive waste can persist in the environment for thousands of years, making disposal a major challenge. Consider the decommissioned Hanford nuclear weapons production site in Washington, where the cleanup of 56 million gallons of radioactive waste is expected to cost more than $100 billion and last through 2060. Accidentally released or improperly disposed of contaminants threaten groundwater, surface water, and marine resources.

To address pollution and protect water we need to understand where the pollution is coming from (point source or nonpoint source) and the type of water body its impacting (groundwater, surface water, or ocean water).

Where is the pollution coming from?

Point source pollution.

When contamination originates from a single source, it’s called point source pollution. Examples include wastewater (also called effluent) discharged legally or illegally by a manufacturer, oil refinery, or wastewater treatment facility, as well as contamination from leaking septic systems, chemical and oil spills, and illegal dumping. The EPA regulates point source pollution by establishing limits on what can be discharged by a facility directly into a body of water. While point source pollution originates from a specific place, it can affect miles of waterways and ocean.

Nonpoint source

Nonpoint source pollution is contamination derived from diffuse sources. These may include agricultural or stormwater runoff or debris blown into waterways from land. Nonpoint source pollution is the leading cause of water pollution in U.S. waters, but it’s difficult to regulate, since there’s no single, identifiable culprit.

Transboundary

It goes without saying that water pollution can’t be contained by a line on a map. Transboundary pollution is the result of contaminated water from one country spilling into the waters of another. Contamination can result from a disaster—like an oil spill—or the slow, downriver creep of industrial, agricultural, or municipal discharge.

What type of water is being impacted?

Groundwater pollution.

When rain falls and seeps deep into the earth, filling the cracks, crevices, and porous spaces of an aquifer (basically an underground storehouse of water), it becomes groundwater—one of our least visible but most important natural resources. Nearly 40 percent of Americans rely on groundwater, pumped to the earth’s surface, for drinking water. For some folks in rural areas, it’s their only freshwater source. Groundwater gets polluted when contaminants—from pesticides and fertilizers to waste leached from landfills and septic systems—make their way into an aquifer, rendering it unsafe for human use. Ridding groundwater of contaminants can be difficult to impossible, as well as costly. Once polluted, an aquifer may be unusable for decades, or even thousands of years. Groundwater can also spread contamination far from the original polluting source as it seeps into streams, lakes, and oceans.

Surface water pollution

Covering about 70 percent of the earth, surface water is what fills our oceans, lakes, rivers, and all those other blue bits on the world map. Surface water from freshwater sources (that is, from sources other than the ocean) accounts for more than 60 percent of the water delivered to American homes. But a significant pool of that water is in peril. According to the most recent surveys on national water quality from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nearly half of our rivers and streams and more than one-third of our lakes are polluted and unfit for swimming, fishing, and drinking. Nutrient pollution, which includes nitrates and phosphates, is the leading type of contamination in these freshwater sources. While plants and animals need these nutrients to grow, they have become a major pollutant due to farm waste and fertilizer runoff. Municipal and industrial waste discharges contribute their fair share of toxins as well. There’s also all the random junk that industry and individuals dump directly into waterways.

Ocean water pollution

Eighty percent of ocean pollution (also called marine pollution) originates on land—whether along the coast or far inland. Contaminants such as chemicals, nutrients, and heavy metals are carried from farms, factories, and cities by streams and rivers into our bays and estuaries; from there they travel out to sea. Meanwhile, marine debris— particularly plastic —is blown in by the wind or washed in via storm drains and sewers. Our seas are also sometimes spoiled by oil spills and leaks—big and small—and are consistently soaking up carbon pollution from the air. The ocean absorbs as much as a quarter of man-made carbon emissions .

On human health

To put it bluntly: Water pollution kills. In fact, it caused 1.8 million deaths in 2015, according to a study published in The Lancet . Contaminated water can also make you ill. Every year, unsafe water sickens about 1 billion people. And low-income communities are disproportionately at risk because their homes are often closest to the most polluting industries.

Waterborne pathogens, in the form of disease-causing bacteria and viruses from human and animal waste, are a major cause of illness from contaminated drinking water . Diseases spread by unsafe water include cholera, giardia, and typhoid. Even in wealthy nations, accidental or illegal releases from sewage treatment facilities, as well as runoff from farms and urban areas, contribute harmful pathogens to waterways. Thousands of people across the United States are sickened every year by Legionnaires’ disease (a severe form of pneumonia contracted from water sources like cooling towers and piped water), with cases cropping up from California’s Disneyland to Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

A woman washes a baby in an infant bath seat in a kitchen sink, with empty water bottles in the foreground.

A woman using bottled water to wash her three-week-old son at their home in Flint, Michigan

Todd McInturf/The Detroit News/AP

Meanwhile, the plight of residents in Flint, Michigan —where cost-cutting measures and aging water infrastructure created a lead contamination crisis—offers a stark look at how dangerous chemical and other industrial pollutants in our water can be. The problem goes far beyond Flint and involves much more than lead, as a wide range of chemical pollutants—from heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury to pesticides and nitrate fertilizers —are getting into our water supplies. Once they’re ingested, these toxins can cause a host of health issues, from cancer to hormone disruption to altered brain function. Children and pregnant women are particularly at risk.

Even swimming can pose a risk. Every year, 3.5 million Americans contract health issues such as skin rashes, pinkeye, respiratory infections, and hepatitis from sewage-laden coastal waters, according to EPA estimates.

On the environment

In order to thrive, healthy ecosystems rely on a complex web of animals, plants, bacteria, and fungi—all of which interact, directly or indirectly, with each other. Harm to any of these organisms can create a chain effect, imperiling entire aquatic environments.

When water pollution causes an algal bloom in a lake or marine environment, the proliferation of newly introduced nutrients stimulates plant and algae growth, which in turn reduces oxygen levels in the water. This dearth of oxygen, known as eutrophication , suffocates plants and animals and can create “dead zones,” where waters are essentially devoid of life. In certain cases, these harmful algal blooms can also produce neurotoxins that affect wildlife, from whales to sea turtles.

Chemicals and heavy metals from industrial and municipal wastewater contaminate waterways as well. These contaminants are toxic to aquatic life—most often reducing an organism’s life span and ability to reproduce—and make their way up the food chain as predator eats prey. That’s how tuna and other big fish accumulate high quantities of toxins, such as mercury.

Marine ecosystems are also threatened by marine debris , which can strangle, suffocate, and starve animals. Much of this solid debris, such as plastic bags and soda cans, gets swept into sewers and storm drains and eventually out to sea, turning our oceans into trash soup and sometimes consolidating to form floating garbage patches. Discarded fishing gear and other types of debris are responsible for harming more than 200 different species of marine life.

Meanwhile, ocean acidification is making it tougher for shellfish and coral to survive. Though they absorb about a quarter of the carbon pollution created each year by burning fossil fuels, oceans are becoming more acidic. This process makes it harder for shellfish and other species to build shells and may impact the nervous systems of sharks, clownfish, and other marine life.

With your actions

We’re all accountable to some degree for today’s water pollution problem. Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can prevent water contamination or at least limit your contribution to it:

  • Learn about the unique qualities of water where you live . Where does your water come from? Is the wastewater from your home treated? Where does stormwater flow to? Is your area in a drought? Start building a picture of the situation so you can discover where your actions will have the most impact—and see if your neighbors would be interested in joining in!
  • Reduce your plastic consumption and reuse or recycle plastic when you can.
  • Properly dispose of chemical cleaners, oils, and nonbiodegradable items to keep them from going down the drain.
  • Maintain your car so it doesn’t leak oil, antifreeze, or coolant.
  • If you have a yard, consider landscaping that reduces runoff and avoid applying pesticides and herbicides .
  • Don’t flush your old medications! Dispose of them in the trash to prevent them from entering local waterways.
  • Be mindful of anything you pour into storm sewers, since that waste often won’t be treated before being released into local waterways. If you notice a storm sewer blocked by litter, clean it up to keep that trash out of the water. (You’ll also help prevent troublesome street floods in a heavy storm.)
  • If you have a pup, be sure to pick up its poop .

With your voice

One of the most effective ways to stand up for our waters is to speak out in support of the Clean Water Act, which has helped hold polluters accountable for five decades—despite attempts by destructive industries to gut its authority. But we also need regulations that keep pace with modern-day challenges, including microplastics, PFAS , pharmaceuticals, and other contaminants our wastewater treatment plants weren’t built to handle, not to mention polluted water that’s dumped untreated.

Tell the federal government, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and your local elected officials that you support water protections and investments in infrastructure, like wastewater treatment, lead-pipe removal programs, and stormwater-abating green infrastructure. Also, learn how you and those around you can get involved in the policymaking process . Our public waterways serve every one of us. We should all have a say in how they’re protected.

This story was originally published on May 14, 2018, and has been updated with new information and links.

This NRDC.org story is available for online republication by news media outlets or nonprofits under these conditions: The writer(s) must be credited with a byline; you must note prominently that the story was originally published by NRDC.org and link to the original; the story cannot be edited (beyond simple things such as grammar); you can’t resell the story in any form or grant republishing rights to other outlets; you can’t republish our material wholesale or automatically—you need to select stories individually; you can’t republish the photos or graphics on our site without specific permission; you should drop us a note to let us know when you’ve used one of our stories.

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Top 3 Projects Based on Water Pollution

Latest Projects Based on Water Pollution

The following projects are based on water pollution. This list shows the latest innovative projects which can be built by students to develop hands-on experience in areas related to/ using water pollution.

1. Ground Water Quality Assessment

Water is the most precious natural resource among all the natural resources found on Earth. During the previous few decades, there has been an unprecedented increase in the need for potable water supply. This is due to a tremendous increase in population, industrialization, urbanization, and intense agricultural activities. Due to unplanned urbanization and rapid industrialization, this rich resource has reached a point of crisis. Due to insufficient availability of surface water which is being subjected to pollution due to urbanization, and industrialization, and also due to the thought that groundwater is pollution-free, the majority of the population in India depends on groundwater for drinking and household, industrial, and agricultural uses.

2. Hydropower using Treated Sewage Water

Urban migration is the major reason for the generation of large amounts of sewage water. To overcome that large number of sewage treatment plants are built.

3. Coconut Shell as Capping For Sand in Rapid Sand Filters

Water is the main source for the survival of the mankind. Water is used for irrigation, drinking, sanitation etc… we cannot imagine the world without water. Water is used for the drinking purposes is to be treated properly.

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Project report on water pollution.

water pollution mini project

A project report on water pollution. This project report will help you to learn about: 1. Introduction to Water Pollution 2. Meaning of Water Pollution 3. Signs 4. Major Sources 5. Common Sources 6. Classification 7. Environment of Aquatic in Water 8. Effects on Different Parameters 9. Problems 10. Effects 11. Control 12. Examples 13. Water Pollution Control and Management.

  • Project Report on Water Pollution Control and Management

Project Report # 1. Introduction to Water Pollution :

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Hydrosphere covers more than 75 per-cent of the earth’s surface either as oceans (salt water) or as fresh water. Hydrosphere includes sea, rivers, oceans, lakes, ponds, streams etc.

Most of the earth’s surfaces water is in the oceans, which contains about 35 parts per thou­sand of dissolved salt of the remainder, most of fresh water with salt content of 0.2% of found either in lakes and ponds (still water) or in rivers and streams (running water).

Fresh water is also available in the form of rains, snow, dew etc. Hydrosphere covers ground water also. Evaporation of water from oceans, cloud formation and precipitation are responsible for worldwide water supply through hydrological cycles. Water is essential to all life. Life was first originate in water.

Pollution of water is the presence of some foreign organic, inorganic, biological, radiological or physical substances in the water. These substances contaminate water by degrading its quality which may cause health hazard or decrease the utility of water.

There are two principle sources of water, surface water and ground water. Surface water comes from streams, lakes, rivers, shallow wells and reservoirs created by damming. Most surface water contains suspended solids, organic and inorganic substances, microbes and other biota. If these substances are present in water in optimum level, they do not cause pollution.

On the contrary some of them are useful in improving the quality of water. When the concentration of these materials or organisms are high, they degrade the quality of water and make it unfit for recreational, domestic, industrial or other use.

Some substances like industrial poisons, toxic chemicals and pathologic organisms pollute the water even at very low concentrations. Some pollution occurs naturally in the form of soil erosion, deposition of animal wastes and fallen leaves, solution of minerals in water etc. Much of it is the direct result of human activity.

These influence the fertility or productivity of soil in several ways:

i. They produce humus by decomposing dead plant and animal material

ii. Release minerals (e.g. calcium, magnesium and iron) from organic compounds for recycling

iii. Interconvert ions and molecules to other beneficial forms and

iv. Decompose toxic substances to harmless forms.

All these contribute to soil productivity. Any substance that adversely affects the productivity of the soil is a soil pollutant Soil pollution is also called as land pollution.

Air and water pollution can be spread to long distances. But soil is greatly localized. Any pollution of soil of one field need not always affect the soil of neighbouring field.

Properties of water are:

(i) Water is an excellent solvent,

(ii) It has a high specific heat and this property of high heat capacity of water is functionally important to aquatic organisms, and

(iii) Water possesses the highest heat of fusion and heat of evaporation, collectively known as latent heat, of all known substances that are liquid at ordinary temperature. The latent heat of water moderates the temperature of the biosphere. It also plays an important role in the evaporation of water and its condensation as well and as dew in the hydrological or water cycle.

Project Report # 2. Meaning of Water Pollution :

In nature, water is in its pure from. Impurities get added to it as it percolates beneath the surface of the earth and also when it is used for human activities. Water pollution can be defined as the presence in water, of some foreign Substances or impurities (organic, inorganic, radiological or biological in such quantity so as to constitute a health hazard by lowering the water quality and making it unfit for use.

Water pollution is a state of deviation from the pure condition, where by its normal function and properties are affected. It has been mentioned before that a knowledge of aquatic environmental chemistry is the key to the understanding of water pollution and its control.

Water pollution can be best considered in the perspective of possible pollutant cycles throughout the environment. Any shift in the naturally dynamic equilibrium existing among the environmental segments: Hydrosphere/Atmosphere/Lithosphere (sediment) gives rise to the state of pollution.

Project Report # 3. Signs of Water Pollution :

(i) Bad taste of drinking water;

(ii) Offensive odours from lakes, rivers and ocean beaches;

(iii) Unchecked growth of aquatic weeds in water bodies;

(iv) Decrease in number of fish in fresh water, river water, sea water;

(v) Oil and grease floating on water surfaces.

(vi) These disturb the normal uses of water for public water supply:

Recreation and aesthetics;

Fish, other aquatic life and wild life;

Agriculture;

Project Report # 4. Major Sources of Water Pollution :

There are two major sources of water pollution, namely:

(i) Point sources and

(ii) Dif­fused sources.

i. Point Sources:

Those sources which can be identified at a single location are known as point sources. For instance, the flow of water pollutants through regular channels like sewage systems, industrial effluents etc. infiltration of industrial effluents, municipal sewage etc. contami­nate the ground water and cause water pollution.

The water pollution caused by point sources can be minimised if all domestic sewage, industrial effluents, cattle field and livestock wastewater etc. are all centrally collected, treated upto requisite acceptable level and reused for different beneficial purposes.

ii. Diffused Sources:

Those sources whose location cannot be easily identified are called diffused sources. In this case, the pollutants scattered on the ground ultimately reach the water sources and cause water pollution, for i-instance, agriculture (pesticides, fertilisers), mining, construction etc.

The water pollution caused by diffused sources like agriculture can be controlled by changing the cropping patterns, tillage particles and advanced farm management practices which do not contaminate the water bodies.

Project Report # 5. Common Sources of Water Pollution:

Common sources of water pollution are as follows:

A main source of pollution is raw or partially treated sewage discharged into rivers, lakes and streams. The discharge of huge quantities of municipal and domestic wastes and sewage pollute many water bodies. Sewage consists of the excreta (faeces and nitrogenous wastes) of animals. It is rich in organic matter and nitrogen compounds.

If used as a fertilizer in moderate concentrations, animal excreta (manure) can enrich the soil. But is sewage is allowed to accumulate in lakes and rivers, it can have serious effects on an ecosystem. Sewage increases the biological productivity and interferes with many uses of the water body. Waste containing toxic substances damage biological activity and kill useful organisms.

ii. Industrial Wastes:

Various types of industrial wastes are continuously poured in streams, rivers and lakes. The industries that cause pollution are printing, electroplating, soap manufacture, food products, rubber and plastics, chemicals, textiles, steel, sugar factories, glass manufacture etc. If industrial wastes are not released directly into water bodies, they can also percolate through the soil and pollute the ground water.

The paper mill wastes are concentrated with a number of inorganic substances. The coak works and plastic wastes have much phenolic compounds. Metal finishing plants release heavy metals and cynides. Caustic soda and chlorine factories release heavy metals such as cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, nickel, zinc and mercury.

All these metals are capable of binding with enzymes and interfering with normal cell metabolism. In some cases these metals concentrate through the food chain to levels that result in heavy metal poisoning. Cadmium poisoning is, called itai-itai (“ouch-ouch”) in Japan because it is a painful disease that can be fatal.

Mercury poisoning produce a crippling and often fatal disease called Minamata disease (mercury poisoning occurred in Minamata City, Japan in 1953, when more than 100 persons died or suffered serious nervous system damage from, eating fish taken from Minamata Bay). The level of mercury in freshwater lakes and rivers have been rising in recent years. It can become highly concentrated in the bodies of fishes.

As already mentioned mercury enter human body through contaminated fishes. Many molluscs in streams are found to accumulate considerable amounts of copper and zinc. Cadmium and chromium present in sea are toxic for marine animals.

iii. Fertilizer Pollution:

Adding large amount of inorganic fertilizers to crop fields result in the nutrient enrichment of streams, rivers and lakes. A major part of fertilizer become available for excessive algal growth. This is more true for nitrogenous fertilizers (which are readily soluble) than phosphatic ones.

Nitrate in agricultural drainage contaminate drinking water. Nitrite poisoning or methemoglobinemia occurs in infants and farm animals by ingesting water or food containing high level of nitrite.

Bacteria normally found in the water are able to convert nitrate ions fertilizers and organic wastes to nitrite. The concentration of nitrates and nitrites are reduced naturally by the action of the denitrifying bacteria in water and soil.

iv. Insecticides:

The excessive use of pesticides cause water pollution, by penetrating through soil and getting dissolved in soil water. Some of them like DDT, DDE, DDD, Dielrin and polychorinated biphenyls are washed down with rain water and find their way to the sea through rivers and streams. These toxic substances accumulate in the bodies of aquatic organisms and cause a great harm to them.

v. Herbicides, Cleaning Agents & Food Additives:

Like insecticides, herbicides, cleaning agents, food additives, industrial materials, adhesives and many other synthetic materials containing new chemicals constantly introduced into water. Each year, approximately 70,000 kinds of organic chemicals are placed on the market that ultimately make their way through environment to the water.

Presence of these chemicals at increasing levels is of great concern because of their known toxicity, mutagenicity and carcinogenicity. Herbicides like monuron, simazin, 2-A-D and 2-4-5-T which are used to clear railroad and highways, weed control in agriculture and forest management are harmful for both plants and animals.

vi. Radioactive Wastes:

Many radioactive isotopes escape to water reservoirs, rivers and seas from nuclear power reactors. They enter the food chain in ecosystem. These wastes may accumulate in the bodies of aquatic animals like fishes causing harm to them as well as animals which eat them.

Cesium is known to accumulate in body muscles, Strontium in bones and Iodine in thyroid. Radioisotopes are said to cause cancer, malformation of body at birth, organ abnormalities etc.

vii. Oil Pollution:

Oil is a major pollutant in the sea. Oil spillages from tankers act as a toxic substance and affects the aquatic organisms. Surprisingly, the effect of oil on phytoplankton appears to be slight, but oil pose serious threat to marine animals especially fishes and birds.

viii. Inert Suspensions:

Fine particles of dust, clay, soil, ores are other pollutants of water.

Poisons such as acids, alkalies, phenols, cyanides, copper, lead, zinc, mercury, insecticides and fungicides pollute water.

Inorganic reducing agents such as sulphides and sulphites and ferrous salts are active under reducing conditions.

Oil from spills and washing of automobiles sometimes pollutes our water.

Considerable pollution is caused by such industries as leather tanneries, beet sugar refining and meat packing. About two thirds of all degradation of water can be attributed to various manufacturing activities, transportation and agriculture.

ix. Thermal Pollution:

Various industries require water for cooling. Thermal pollution is the discharge of hot water into river and estuaries from power stations. This raises the temperature of the water, thereby increasing the metabolic rate and oxygen consumption of microorganisms. This makes it all the more difficult for fish to survive.

x. Mining Wastes:

Mining causes water pollution in the form of acid drainage from coalmines, debris and saw weeds from hydromining methods.

xi. Silt Pollution:

Earth moving construction projects, deforestation and flood result in the production of silt in streams and lakes. This may interrupt or prevent the reproduction of fish by smothering eggs laid on the bottom.

Project Report # 6. Classification of Water Pollutants :

Water is used for various purposes like bathing, excretion, laundry, food preparation, cleaning of floors and equipment etc. After using the water, manufacturing plants, industries, residential, and commercial establishments discharge wastewater which is contaminated by many pollutants.

Water pollutants can be classified into the following categories:

(a) Suspended matter (Solids) comprises of silt, sand, mineral codes.

(b) Thermal discharges waste hot water returned to the original water bodies.

(c) Pathogens (Bacteria, Viruses, Protozoa, Helminths)

(d) Natural Organic Pollutants

(e) Synthetic Organic Compounds (Detergents, Pesticides, Fertilizers)

(f) Inorganic Chemicals (Acids, Alkalies, Metals)

(g) Radioactive substances

(h) Sediments.

i. Synthetic Organic Pollutants:

The production of synthetic organic chemicals (more than 60 million tonnes each year as in 1980) has multiplied about ten times since 1950. These include fuels, plastics, plasticizers, fibres, elastomers, solvent, detergents, paints, insecticides, food additives and phar­maceuticals.

These presence in water (particularly bio-refractory organics, i.e. aromatic chlo­rinated hydrocarbons, etc.) imparts objectionable and offensive tastes, odours and colours to fish and aquatic plants even when they are present in low concentrations. This group includes oxygen-demanding wastes, disease-causing agents, plant nutrients, sewage, synthetic organic compounds and oil.

(i) Dissolved oxygen is an essential requirement of aquatic. D.O. in natural water is 4- 6 ppm. Decrease in this D.O. value is an index of pollution mainly due to organic matter, e.g. sewage industrial wastes from food-processing plants, sugar mills and tanneries; wastes from slaughter houses and meatpacking plants; run-off from agricultural lands, etc.

All these materials undergo degradation by bacterial activity in the presence of D.O., the net result being the de-oxygenation process and quick depletion of D.O.

C + O 2 → CO 2

(ii) Water is the carrier of pathogenic microorganism and can cause immense harm to public health. The water borne diseases are typhoid and paratyphoid fevers, dysentery and cholera, polio, and infections hepatitis.

The responsible organisms occur in the faeces or urine of infected people and are finally discharged into a water body. Historically the first step in water pollution control was the disinfection technique for the prevention of water-borne diseases, which are still in use.

(iii) Sewage and run off from agricultural lands provide plant nutrients in natural settings, in the natural biological process called eutrophication (Greek word: well nourished). Algal blooms and large amounts of other aquatic weeds causes serious problems.

The ex­cessive plant growth presents an unaesthetic scene and disturbs recreational use of water. The water body, in the process of eutrophication, loses all its D.O. in the long run and ends up in a dead pool of water.

ii. Oil Pollution:

Oil pollution of the seas has increased over the years due to the increased use of oil- based technology. The sources of oil pollution are oil spill from cargo oil tankers on the seas, losses during off-shore exploration and production of oil, and leakage from oil pipe­lines crossing waterways and reservoirs.

Oil pollution reduces light transmission through surface water, and hence, photosynthesis by marine plants, decreases D.O. in water and cause damage to water birds, coastal plants and animals. In other words, it damages marines life on a massive scale and also affects the sea food which enters the human food chain.

iii. Pesticides:

In the early period of human civilization it was realised that pests harm crops and transmit diseases both to men and animals. The use of chemicals to kill pests dates back to 70 A.D. when arsenic was recommended to kill insects.

In the sixteenth century the Chinese are used arsenic sulphide as an insecticide. Arsenic compounds were continued to be used as lead arsenate on a large scale during early twentieth century to control insect pests.

Paris green (Copper acetoarsenite) was extensively applied to pools in the tropics for controlling malaria transmitting mosquitoes. However, it was known that arsenical pesticides can persist in soil for up to 40 years and damage crops.

Pesticide is the general term for insecticides, acaricides, rodenticides, molluscides, herbicides, fungicides and similarly active compounds. The era of synthetic organic pesti­cides started around 1940. At present there are more than 10,000 different pesticides. They are broadly classified according to their general chemical nature into several principal types.

Organophosphorus group e.g. malathion; Organochlorinc group e.g. DDT; carbamate group e.g. Carboaryl designed to kill insects in crops.

v. Herbicides:

Chlorophenoxy acid group e.g. 2, 4 dichlorophenoxy acid (2, 4%) meant for killing weeds or undesirable vegetation.

vi. Fungicides:

Di-thio-carbamite group e.g. thiram, (CH 3 ) 2 NCSS. SCSN (CH 3 ) 2 ; Organometailic group e.g. phenyl mercury acetate, C 6 H 5 HgOCOCH 3 — toxic to moulds (fungi) and check plant disease.

The use of pesticides helped in the eradication of diseases such as malaria and typhoid and also in boosting crop production. About 0.1% of the total insects (500 species out of world total of 5.0 million) are harmful-these are mostly agricultural pests which are also carriers of human or animal diseases.

Inorganic pollutants :

This group consists of inorganic salts, minerals, acids, finely divided metals or metal compounds, trace elements, complexes of metals with organic in natural water, and organo- metallic compounds.

The metal-organic interactions involve organic species of both pollut­ants (such a EDTA) and natural (e.g. fulvic acids) origin. Such interactions depend on and play a role in redox equilibrate, colloid formation, acid base reactions and microorganisms mediated reactions in water. These have an impact on the toxicity of metals in aquatic ecosystems and on the growth of algae in water.

Polyphosphate in detergents, the major sources of phosphate in water, serve as algal nutrients and are of much concern as water pollutants. However, in an efficient sewage- treatment plant, it is possible to remove phosphates from sewage containing organic wastes as well as detergents.

Project Report # 7. Environment of Aquatic in Water:

Water quality characteristic of aquatic environment arises from a multitude of physical, chemical and biological interaction. The water bodies rivers, lakes and estuaries are con­tinuously subject to a dynamic state of change with respect to their geological age and geochemical characteristics.

This is demonstrated by continuous circulation, transforma­tion and accumulation of energy and matter through the medium of living things and their activities. This dynamic balance in the aquatic ecosystem is upset by human activities, resulting in pollution which is manifested dramatically as fish kill, offensive taste and odour, etc.

The physiochemical characteristic of the aqueous phase have direct influence on the types and distribution of aquatic biota. Conversely, they are also influenced by the activity of the aquatic biota. These interactions can be readily explained with reference to a thermally stratified lake.

In general, deep lakes and marine environments are likely to undergo seasonal thermal stratification into a warm surface layer (epilimnion), an underlying layer of cool water of higher density (hypolimnion).

The hyppliminitic zone represents a condition where the biological decomposition of organic matter consumes all dissolved O 2 , which cannot be made up since these layers are stagnant and cut off from the atmosphere. As a result of O 2 depletion, anaerobic biological populations dominate and reductions set in

Heavy metal ions, if present, will be precipitated as metal sulphides which settle at the sediment layer at the bottom.

Thermal stratification in a lake and Physical, Chemical-biological interactions

Thus water quality characterization must take in to account:

(a) The distribution dynam­ics of chemicals in the aqueous phase (soluble, colloidal or absorbed or particulate matter);

(b) Accumulation and release of chemicals by the aquatic biota;

(c) Accumulation and release by bottom deposits; and

(d) Input from land and atmosphere, e.g. air-borne contami­nants and land runoffs.

Acid Mine Drainage :

This is a very common and damaging problems in aquatic environment somewhat similar to acid rain problem. Coal mines, especially those which have been abandoned, discharge substantial quantities of H 2 SO 4 and also Fe (OH) 3 , into local streams through sewage.

These result from oxidation of FeS 2 in pyrite which occurs in large quantities in the underground seams which contain coal. FeS 2 is stable in absence of air but when the coal seams are exposed to air in mining operations, the oxidation reactions take place as shown below yielding large quantities of acid. These reactions continue long after the coal mining operations are over.

Microorganisms play important role in the overall process which consists of several reactions.

Thiobacillus ferroxidans. At pH 3.5-4.5 the reaction may be catalyzed by a variety of bacterium, Metallogenium. Among other bacteria involved in the process mention may be made of thiobacillus thippxidans and Ferro bacillus ferrooxidans. Fe 3 + dissolves pyrite fur­ther and together with the second reaction above, constitute a cycle for the dissolution of pyrite.

The stream beds, contaminated with acid mine water, are often coated with odd yellow deposit of amorphous semigelationous Fe(OH) 3 ; H 2 SO 4 of acid mine water destroys aquatic life in water bodies.

Streams at pH 3.0 implies the presence of 0.5 x 10 -3 M H 2 SO 4 .

The prevention of water pollution from acid mine water is tough challenge for environ­mental chemists.

Carbonate rocks have been suggested for remedial measures:

But with rise in pH as this reaction proceeds, Fe (OH) 3 present in the system covers the particles of carbonate rock with a relatively impermeable layer. This inhibits further neutralization of H 2 SO 4 .

Project Report # 8. Effects of Water Pollutants on Different Parameters :

Effect of water pollutants on different parameters most commonly associated with water quality are:

(ii) Taste and odour

(iii) Hardness

(i) Colour:

As the colourless pure water travels through nature, it becomes coloured by various impurities. The tannins, humic acid etc. present in the organic debris water is aesthetically unacceptable and unsuitable for bathing, laundering, beverage manufacturing, food pro­cessing etc.

(ii) Taste and Odour:

The causative agents that impart perceptible taste and odour to water include minerals, metals, soil salts, iron, manganese, phenols, free chlorine, unsaturated hydrocarbons, hydro­gen sulphide and end products from biological reactions. Water tastes bitter when contaminated with alkaline impurities and salty when the impurities are metallic salts.

Biological decomposition of organic debris impart a characteristic taste and odour of rotten eggs which is mainly due to hydrogen sulphide. Growth of algae, micro-organisms, hydrogen sulphide and ammonia give an obnoxious odour to water making if unfit for use. The unpleasant taste and odour is aesthetically unacceptable even though it may not pose any serious threat to health.

(iii) Hardness:

Hardness is the property of water on account of which it consumes soap without form­ing lather freely. Multivalent metallic cations, (Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Manganese, Strontium, Aluminium) in solution contribute to hardness in water.

Hardness may be temporary or permanent. Temporary hardness is due to the presence of carbonates and bicarbonates of calcium and is known as carbonate hardness. Whereas permanent hardness is due to presence of chlorides, sulphates and nitrates of calcium and magnesium and is known as non-carbonate hardness.

Hard water consumes soap and there by results in economic loss. Lathering occurs only after all the hardness ions are precipitated by the soap (the water gets ‘softened’ by the soap) and the precipitated (soap and ions) adheres to the surfaces of articles [skin (the precipitate present in the skin pores makes the skin feel rough) tub, sink, clothes, dishes etc.] Hard water results in scaling and even bursting of boilers and hot waste pipes through which it passes.

(iv) pH (H-ion Concentration):

The H-ion concentration or pH value is a measure of the degree of acidity or alkalinity of water. pH value extends from 0 (maximum acidity) to 14 (maximum alkalinity) with the mid value 7 corresponding to exact neutrality.

If pH is less than 7 (i.e. water is acidic) tuberculation and corrosion will be caused. If pH is more than 7 (i.e. water is alkaline) the following defects will result-incrustation, sedi­ment deposits, difficulty in chlorination and physiological effects on human bodies.

Project Report # 9. Problems Caused by Water Pollution:

This severe water pollution problem caused in the following ways:

(i) Bacterial and viral contamination:

Sewage waters may contain a number of pathogenic bacteria and viruses. This is a threat to human health as they cause a num­ber of water-borne diseases such as typhoid, dysentery, hepatitis etc. Some of these may assume an epidemic state.

Biological oxygen demand (BOD):

Biological oxygen demand is the amount of oxygen required for biological oxidation by microbes in any unit volume of water. The release of raw sewage into lakes, rivers, ponds etc. creates BOD due to the oxidative breakdown of the detritus by microorga­nisms.

The number of microbes (Escherichia coli) also increases tremendously which con­sumes most of the oxygen. The number of bacteria (E. coli) in unit volume of water (called E. coli index) is also taken as a para­meter of water pollution. Inorganic nutri­ents (such as phosphorus) stimulate the production of organic detritus, adding to the BOD.

Sewages are oxygen-demanding wastes. In its worst effect, this type of pollution can deplete the surface water of its oxygen, leading to the suffocation of fish and other obligatory aerobic organisms. The dissolved oxygen (DO) value in water along with BOD is indicated by the kind of organisms present in water.

For example, fishes become rare at DO value of 4 to 5 ppm (mg/1). BOD values of raw sewage varies between 200 and 400 mg/1. Water fit for drinking should have a BOD value of less than 1 ppm.

Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD):

It is the amount of oxygen required by organic matter in a sample of water for its oxidation by strong chemical oxidant. It is a very impor­tant parameter in management and design of the treatment plants because of its rapidity in determining values.

These values are taken as basis for calculation of efficiency of treatment plants and to figure the standards for dischar­ging industrial/domestic sewage effluents in various types of water bodies.

(ii) Eutrophication:

Sewage consists of nitrates, phosphates, sodium, potassium, calcium etc. and their addition into water bodies makes it rich in nutrients, especially phosphate and nitrate ions. These nutrients make the water bodies highly productive or eutrophic and the phenomena is called eutrophication.

The word eutrophication stems from two Greek words: eu, meaning ‘good’ or ‘well’ and trophic meaning ‘food’. According to Hutchinson (1969), eutrophica­tion is a natural process which literally means “wellnourished or enriched”.

Addition of nutrients, stimulate luxuriant growth of algae in these waters. Algal bloom (often filamentous algae) floating on water forms a scum or blanket and are generally not utilised by zooplankton.

Some such phytoplankton bloom releases toxic chemicals which kill fishes, birds etc. Decomposition of blooms also lead to further oxygen-depletion in water. The entire process of eutrophication may be summarised in Flow Chart no. 4.1:

Unlimited discharge of untreated sewage into a water body hastens the above process greatly. This accelerated process is sometime referred to as cultural eutrophication. Lakes, in which the nutrient level is high and cha­racterised by frequent summer stagnation with algal bloom, are said to be eutrophic.

In their early stages of formation lakes, ponds etc. are generally nutrient-poor and this state is referred to as oligotrophic (Oligo meaning “small” or “deficient in”). Impoundments with intermediate nutrient level are called mesotrophic.

Effects of Organic Pollution:

The effects of sewage are:

1. Changes in faunal composition. Nymphs of stone fly and may fly are the first to disappear. As pollution increases caddis-fly larvae and many fishes requiring high levels of oxygen disappear. They are followed by shrimps, water fleas, lee­ches, snails and most of the fishes. At very high level of pollution there is very little dissolved oxygen and the animals present are the chironomid larvae (blood worms) and the oligochaete worm, Tubifex.

2. Species diversity decreases.

3. Phytoplankton biomass initially increa­ses.

4. Turbidity increases and sedimentation makes the requirement of COD high.

5. Some decomposing plants and phyto­plankton produce toxins. One such toxin, strychnine, secreted by decomposing plants kills animals including cattle.

6. BOD value increases.

7. Mortality of plants and animals takes place.

8. Ecological dis-balance occurs.

9. Water-borne diseases may occur and it may assume epidemic state.

10. Detrimental effect on the commercial and sport-fishing industry due to changes in the species of fish caused due to low dis­solved oxygen.

11. Affects recreation and tourism due to excessive growth of algae and other aquatic plants, making the water and beaches unfit for recreation purposes.

12. Abundant algal bloom creates unplea­sant taste and odour in water supplies and plugs filters in water treatment plants.

Control of Eutrophication:

Following methods should be undertaken to check eutrophication:

1. Swages must be treated before it is dis­charged into the water. This would limit nutrient input.

2. Stimulate bacterial multiplication which would reduce the amount of nutrients solubilized in water and check profuse algal growth.

3. Check recycling of nutrients by harves­ting and removal of algal blooms upon their death.

4. Removal of excess dissolved nutrients from water by physical or chemical method. Example, phosphorus can be removed by precipitation; nitrogen by biological nitrification and de-nitrification.

5. Where oxygen depletion is a serious concern, mechanical aeration may help, which is a stop-gap measure.

6. Non-point source of load, such as agri­cultural runoff, can be reduced through land management techniques that pre­vent soil erosion and avoid excessive use of fertilisers.

Project Report # 10. Effects of Water Pollution :

All organisms need water for their metabolic activities. It is even used as a habitat by many organisms. Besides direct consumption (washing, bathing, drinking) man uses water for a multi­tude of purposes like irrigation, industry, navigation, recreation, construction work, power generation and waste disposal.

Different type of water uses require different levels of water purity with the highest level of purity being required for drinking water. Pollutants bring about many physical and chemical changes in water, for instance, suspended particles make water turbid; dyes, chro­mium and iron compounds change the colour of water; phenols, oils, detergents, hydrocar­bons, chlorine etc. impart an unpleasant taste to water.

As it is a vital resource essential for sustaining life, contamination of water has immedi­ate as well as far reaching effects on the health and environment of living organisms.

Health Hazards of Water pollution:

(a) Phosphorus and Nitrates from fertilizers and detergents contaminate surface wa­ters where they act as nutrients and promote the growth of oxygen consuming algae which reduce the D.O. level of water, killing fish and other aquatic organisms.

(b) Industrial effluents result in the addition of poisonous chemicals such as Arsenic, Mercury, Cadmium, Lead etc. which kill aquatic organisms and may reach human body through contaminated food (i.e. fishes etc.)

(c) Domestic, commercial and industrial effluents (petroleum refineries, paper mills, distilleries, tanneries, slaughter houses) contaminate the water with organic pollut­ants.

These provide nutrition for micro-organisms which decompose the organic matter and consume oxygen and reduce the D.O. level of the aquatic system there by killing the aquatic organisms.

(d) Non-biodegradable pesticides (especially organochlorines) travel through food chains and ultimately reach human body where they accumulate in the fatty tissues and affect the nervous system.

(e) Water borne infectious enteric diseases like typhoid, bacillary dysentery, cholera and amoebic dysentery are the predominant health hazards arising from drinking contaminated water.

(f) Fluoride containing pollutants cause fluorosis i. e. neuromuscular, respiratory gastro intestinal and dental problems.

(g) Thermal pollution of water reduces the D.O. level of the aquatic system making it incapable of supporting life.

(h) Oil pollutants have been known to be responsible for the death of many water birds and fishes.

Project Report # 11. Control of Water Pollution :

The following measures can be taken to control water pollution:

i. Thermal Pollution:

For minimising thermal pollution, hot water should be cooled before release from factories, and removal of forest canopies and irrigation return flows should be prohibited.

ii. Prohibition:

Besides reserving separate water supplies for livestock, the follow­ing prohibition should be enforced to avoid contamination of the main sources of drinking water.

(a) Bathing and washing of clothes in rivers and streams.

(b) Discharging untreated or treated domestic, commercial and industrial sewage in water bodies.

iii. Judicious Use:

Pesticides (preferably less stable) and fertilizers should be very judiciously used to avoid chemical pollution of water through agricultural farm run-offs.

iv. Reuse of Water:

The treated waste water can be reused for several purposes, for instance:

(a) Treated water can be reused for recreation purposes like fishing and boating.

(b) Treated water can be reused as industrial water supply.

(c) Reclaimed waste water can be used for irrigation or municipal purposes.

(d) Treated water can be reused for cooling processes in thermal plants.

(e) In area of acute water scarcity, waste water treated to the highest standards can be reused as potable water (provided there is public acceptance for waste water use).

v. Legislation:

For effective control of water pollution, legal provisions regarding water pollution should be enforced by a special administrative machinery comprising of highly qualified and experienced personnel.

Preservation of Water Samples :

It is essential to protect samples from changes in composition and deterioration with aging due to various interactions. The optimum sample holding times range from zero for parameters such a pH, temperature and D.O, to one week for metals. The preservation techniques for various parameters are summarized in Table 7. 2.

Water Sampling :

The significance of a chemical analysis to a large extent depends on the sampling programme. An ideal sample should be one which is both valid and representative. These conditions are met by collection of samples through a process of random selection.

This ensures that the composition of the sample is identical to that of the water body from which it is collected and the sample shares the same physicochemical characteristic with the sampled water at the time and site of sampling.

The relevant factors for any sampling program are:

(a) Frequency of sample collection,

(b) Total number of samples,

(c) Size of each sample,

(d) Sites of sample collection,

(e) Method of sample collection,

(f) Data to be collected with each sample, and

(g) Transportation and care of samples prior to analysis.

For analysis of natural and waste water, two principal types of sampling procedures are employed:

1. Spot or grab samples are discrete portions of water samples taken at a given time. A series of grab samples, collected from different depth at a given site, reflect variations in constituents over a period of time. The total number of grab samples should satisfy the requirements of the sampling programme.

2. Composite samples are essentially weighted series of grab samples, the volume of each being proportional to the rate of flow of the water stream at the time and site of sample collection. Samples may be composited over any time period, such as 4, 8 or 24 hours, depending on the purpose of analysis.

Such composite samples are useful for determining the average condition which, when correlated with flow, can be used for computing the material balance of a stream of water body over a period of time.

It may be stated, in general, that it is more meaningful to analyze a large number of separate samples taken at different times and different locations than to compile and analyse a single representative sample.

Separate samples must be collected for chemical and biological analysis since the sampling and preservation techniques are quite different. For accurate analysis, it is desir­able to allow a short time interval between sampling and analysis. As a matter of fact, tem­perature, pH and dissolved gases (D.O.) must be determined in the field and as quickly as possible after sampling.

Redox reactions are likely to cause large errors in analysis. Thus, soluble iron (I) and manganese (II) are oxidized to insoluble iron (III) and manganese (IV) compounds as an anaerobic water sample absorbs O 2 from the atmosphere.

Microbial activity reduces phenol or C.O.D. values change the NO 3 – NO 2 – NH + 3 balances, or alters to oxidation Cr (VI) may be reduced to Cr (III), which precipitate readily, Na,SiO 2 and B are leached from glass container walls. Colour, odour and turbidity change with aging of sample. These are some of the problems which can only be solved through careful preservation techniques.

Collection of truly representative sample is as important as sample preservation. A representative single sample is taken from a number of different locations over a long period of time. In general, it is more significant to analyse a large number of separate samples taken at different times and different locations. Then it is to complete and analyse a sample representative sample.

Recon centration techniques.

Carbon absorption method

Freeze concentration

Solvent extraction

Ion exchange.

Project Report # 12. Examples of Water Pollution :

(i) the ganga basin:.

The Ganga basin is the largest river basin in India, with geo­graphical area of 9,00,000 sq. km. and a stretch of 2525 km. It may be compared to the river Nile (6,650 km) and Amazon (6500 km) but it carries the heaviest sediment load (2.4 billion metric tonnes per year).

This huge sediment load is due to (a) high erosion rate of Hima­layan rocks (birthplace of Ganga), (b) large size of drainage basin with steep angle of eleva­tion in the Himalayan region, (c) numerous tributaries transporting soil to the main stream, (d) dense population in most part of the basin with their intense agricultural practices.

Each year about 1,15,000 tonnes of fertilizers are washed away with agricultural waste water into the Ganga-they include 88,600 tons of N, 17,000 tons of P and 9,200 tonnes of K. The water holding capacity of the Ganga and its tributaries are getting reduced due to high rate of siltation, leading to devastating floods at regular intervals during the current century.

The Ganga basin in the home of about 37% of the total population of the country. About 84% of the people live in rural areas while 16% are distributed in 692 cities and towns of the basin.

The overall density of population is 300 persons per sq. km., compared to 200 for the whole of India. The highest density of rural population is found in the lower Gangetic plain e.g. in W.B. with 475 persons per sq. km. It has increased to 20,000 persons per sq. km in the industrial belts of Hooghly and 24 paragraph.

The high intensity of cultivation in the rural sectors, high population density and high concentration of factories in towns and cities account for generation of huge amounts of organic and inorganic pollutants in the basin most of which finally find their way into the main stream.

Taking the basin as a whole, the average amount of BOD load comes to 24 g. per person per day in the rural sector and 64 g. per person per day in the urban.

Monitoring of the water quality in terms of the standard parameters reveals that the upper stretch (Rishikesh upstream of Kanpur) is the best clean range (D.O. 8-9; B .O.D. < 2) while Kanpur – 50 km. downstream (45 tanneries, 10 textile mills, 2 jute mills and many chemical and pharmaceutical units) is polluted (D.O. 4-6; B.O.D. 10-50); Varanasi is the second polluted zone (D.O. 8-9; B.O.D. 4-24) while Hoogly near Calcutta is the most pol­luted zone (D.O. 4-7; B.O.D. 4-50).

The Hooghly river near Calcutta is contaminated with waste effluents from about 150 industries (including 87 jute mills, 12 textile mills, 7 tanneies, 5 paper mills and 4 distilleries) as well as domestic sewage from 360 out falls on both sides of the river.

Hooghly estuarine water does not show any significant pollution level of inorganic but has considerable organics (pesticides) while the sediment is quite rich in toxic metal levels (Diamond Harbour, Cd 6.6, Cr 26.5, Pb 516 mg/kg) and organochlorine pesticides (B.H.C. 25-125 ppb; D.D.T. 0.25-4.5 ppb).

This has adverse impact on the health status of the population residing in the estuarine areas. The population showed higher levels of heavy metals and pesticides in their hair (cd 3-5 ppm, Cr 2 ppm, Pb 50 ppm) respectively.

(ii) The Damodar Valley: Durgapur Asansol Profile:

The river Damodar originates from Chhotanagpur plateau in Bihar, crosses about 500 km through Bihar and W. Bengal and joins the Hooghly river opposite Falta at a distance of 58 km. South of Calcutta. The Damodar valley from Durgapur to Asansol forms the largest industrial complex in W. Bengal and the eastern region. This area is known as the “River of India”.

Its high record of pollution is due to indiscriminate discharge of huge quantities of pollutants generated by industries, mining and mineral processing industries which are con­centrated on both sides or in the proximity of the river.

Besides mining, transport and trade, there are some 50 large, 100 medium and 200 small industries units extending from Giddi in Hibar to Durgapur in W.B. along the mid-river stretch of 300 km. The river segments upstream of Giddi and downstream of Bardhaman are much less significant in terms of water pollution.

Indian Iron and Steel Co., Cycle Corporation of India, Carew and Co., Bengal Paper Mill and Durgapur steel plant discharge various types of pollutant (some are non-degradable and persistent) which accumulate in Durgapur barrage water.

The concentration of these toxic pollutants in barrage water are above the permissible limits for surface water. Thus tannin – lignin (0.9 ppm), NH 3 (0.5-6 ppm), phenol (0.002 ppm) are found in barrage water, exceeding their respective tolerance limits.

It should be noted that the barrage water remains the sources of domestic water supply for Durgapur city. The conventional water treatment methods fail to remove organic matter, phenol and toxic metals so that these find their way into domestic water supply.

Further­more, in the process of water treatment, chlorination enhances toxicity of water by forma­tion of toxic chloramines and chlorophenols through reactions with NH 3 and phenol respec­tively. Thus the residents of the city are constantly exposed to these toxic pollutants in their domestic water supply.

On the other hand, the downstream river (beyond Durgapur barrage) is contaminated by Tamla Nalah and HFC drain. The Tamla Nalah delivers a heavy pollution load to the river-phenol (0.02 – 2.0 ppm), NH 3 (10-40 ppm), C.O.D. (80-350 mg/I), sulphide (1.5-15 ppm), Hg (0.01-0.05 ppm) which are deposited in the river bed. The sediments containing these parameters in 10 to 100 fold excess act as storehouse of these pollutants and supply these pollutants continuously by leaching action throughout the river course in the region.

People in the industrial belt are constantly exposed to health hazards due to synergic effect of water pollution and industrial air pollution. The incidences of liver diseases such as hepatitis, jaundice, dysentery etc. and respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, bronchial asthma, pulmonary tuberculosis etc. are quite high in the INDUSTRIAL BELT.

Project Report # 13. Water Pollution Control and Management :

Clean water is essential for healthy environment to support life systems on this planet. The task of delicately balancing the ratio of available and exploitable water resources and sustaining their quality is most relevant in India where rainfall distribution is uneven and confined to 3-4 months in a year.

Moreover, anthropogenic global and local climatic distor­tions resulting from global warming due to greenhouse gases, denudation of forest canopy, loss of top soil and severe environmental degradation have adverse impact on the monsoon pattern in India.

Hence in-spite of vast water resources in lakes and rivers and good mon­soon, India faces perennial problems of floods and droughts and highly polluted water resources.

Related Articles:

  • Thermal Pollution: Sources and Effects of Thermal Pollution
  • Surface Water Pollution: Meaning and Sources

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What environmental, health and safety impacts can a mini-grid have?

Short answer.

Although mini-grids are recognized for their light environmental footprint and benefits for community health and safety, they also carry risks that could negatively impact communities and the environment. Decision making about a mini-grid must be informed by environmental, health and safety (EHS) risks. These risks affect people differently based on gender, age, ethnicity, health, livelihoods and economic status. It is necessary to understand EHS risks and incorporate measures to monitor them and mitigate negative impact. Mini-grids have three kinds of potential EHS impacts: direct, indirect and cumulative.

EHS Impacts of Mini-Grids

  • Land use and land use change
  • Localized air, water and soil pollution
  • Battery waste pollution
  • Water diversion or impoundment
  • Health and safety impacts on workers and communities
  • Material production
  • Fuel source production
  • End-user industry
  • Equity of access
  • Air pollution
  • Waste production
  • Fuel sourcing
  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of power generation and supply chain activities
  • Population effects on threatened biodiversity

Further Explanation of Key Points

Direct impacts.

Mini-grids may have direct EHS impacts depending on their particular technology and design and the time and location of the project. Detailed information on the potential direct EHS impacts of mini-grids, including energy sources, distribution lines and batteries, can be found in the Resources section. Potentially significant direct impacts include:

  • Soil erosion and water pollution from construction
  • Deforestation that contributes to habitat loss for wildlife and economic loss for communities (such as food sources, pest control, water storage and erosion control)
  • Wildlife mortality (such as birds and bats) resulting from collisions and electrocutions
  • Encroachment on protected areas or loss of wildlife habitat and biodiversity
  • Air pollution (such as from fossil fuels and bioenergy )
  • Water and soil contamination from waste and byproducts (such as from bioenergy, fossil fuels and battery leakage)

Indirect Impacts

The indirect impacts of mini-grids originate primarily through the sourcing of materials and fuel, but can also result from the end use of the generated electricity.

Cumulative Impacts

  • GHG emissions of power generation and supply chain activities

Even when the direct or indirect environmental impacts are minimal for a single mini-grid , several mini-grids can result in significant cumulative impacts.

For example, batteries for energy storage for a single mini-grid can be contained without causing significant pollution. However, hundreds of batteries in an area without a system for recycling or disposal can lead to significant soil and groundwater contamination, with noticeable public-health impacts.

Another example is the ongoing debate over the cumulative environmental impacts of bioenergy initiatives, driving impacts on global food and land-use systems.

What are Potential and Actual Mini-grid Impacts?

Several contextual factors determine whether potential mini-grid impacts become actual impacts, as well as the significance of those impacts.

Baseline Environmental Conditions

Baseline environmental conditions reflect the state of the environment before a project begins. The potential environmental impact of an activity is assessed by comparing potential impacts to the baseline environmental condition. The baseline environmental condition includes all aspects of the current regulatory and policy environment, such as current land-use plans, economic policies that might impact development and current climate variability. Understanding and documenting baseline environmental conditions are essential in order to allow for proper monitoring of risks once a project is implemented. Assessing the baseline environmental condition takes into account, for example, the following questions:

Questions to Determine Baseline Conditions

For example: Degradation—Resource depletion such as air, water and soil

Resilience—Farming systems’ resilience such as soil, water and communities

Regulatory Oversight

Where EHS regulations are strong and enforced—including for construction, energy systems, resource extraction, pollution control, protected areas and occupational health and safety—they may ensure that a mini-grid project does not harm the local environment. On the other hand, poorly regulated areas are more vulnerable to the negative EHS impacts of a mini-grid. In developing a plan for mitigating EHS risks, it is important to assess national, regional, municipal or community-based regulations from the outset. Market forces typically discourage all but the most proactive project developers from proposing their own regulations, because mitigation measures almost always raise project costs. Proactive and market-conscious regulatory bodies or active and informed community engagement are essential to striking the right balance between community needs for power against the environmental risks of providing it through mini-grids.

Once the EHS risks are understood, mitigation of potential impacts can be incorporated through project design and management. A successful management system is essential to mitigate impacts, from ensuring that the correct inputs are used (i.e., biomass determined to be sustainable, as opposed to primary forest resources ), to conducting regular system maintenance and practicing environmental monitoring.

It is important that the size of the project, and the EHS impacts resulting from the project’s size, be analyzed as part of the environmental review. However, there is no set scale at which the potential impacts become significant, as this depends on the particular location and design of the project.

Environmental and Social Assessments

The assessments in the text box are examples of formal processes to examine the environmental risks of an activity and plan for the mitigation of negative impacts.

  • Environmental assessment (EA)
  • Social impact assessment (SIA)
  • Strategic environmental assessment (SEA)

Part of the assessment process involves comparing alternative options on the basis of environmental and community impacts . Full environmental assessments may be necessary if the risks are particularly high (such as a mini-grid located in or near a protected area). In other cases, less comprehensive reviews may be sufficient.

An EA assess the environmental consequences of a plan, policy, program or actual projects prior to decision making. EAs provide sufficient evidence and analysis to determine whether there is a need to prepare an EIA .

An EIA is the process of evaluating the environmental impacts of actual projects. USAID has established EIA procedures to implement National Environmental Policy Act requirements. The USAID environmental compliance regulation is Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 216 . These procedures identify actions required to mitigate and monitor anticipated impacts from projects.

An SIA evaluates intended and unintended social consequences of a plan, policy, program or projects and any social change processes invoked by those interventions.

An SEA is an evidence-based tool that uses assessment methods and techniques to ensure that environmental considerations are fully included and addressed at an early stage in the decision making of plans, policies, programs or projects. For the most part, an SEA is conducted before an EIA is undertaken.

Impact Mitigation Options

When negative EHS impacts occur, mitigation measures are needed. Mitigation refers to avoiding, minimizing, rectifying or compensating for adverse impacts. Measures should be incorporated into a mini-grid project through environmentally sensitive design, and they must be monitored and adjusted as needed.

The off-grid rural electrification Mitigation Momentum project in Ethiopia, for example, is supporting the development of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) to increase rural electrification by creating clean mini-grids, replacing fossil and traditional alternatives. One of the NAMA components includes an environmental impact and feasibility study for five pilot projects.

Populations Vulnerable to Environmental, Health and Safety Impacts

EHS impacts do not affect all stakeholders equally; some populations may be disproportionately impacted.

  • Men , who are often those most prominently employed in construction, operations and maintenance are more vulnerable to risks at the site of the mini-grid .
  • Women often spend more time in the home and may be vulnerable to risks there, such as indoor air pollution and exposure to fumes.
  • Low-income or other excluded segments of the population may have subpar electrical connections and appliances, which makes them more vulnerable to electrocutions and fires.
  • The young, elderly and sick may be more vulnerable to local air and water pollution, especially when they lack alternative housing options.

Recognizing these differences is important in assessing EHS impacts and designing appropriate mitigation and monitoring strategies. In conducting assessments, project managers should consider how they will consult with vulnerable groups in order to incorporate their viewpoints.

Putting it Into Practice

Identifying and managing EHS impacts is an iterative process throughout the project management life cycle. Specific environmental review and assessment procedures may differ, but the basic principles remain the same. Projects that adequately plan for environmental and social conditions reduce project risk, increase the likelihood of smooth project implementation and ensure a sustainable project that will be well integrated into the local context.

The Annotated Questionnaire: Environmental, Health and Safety Risks provides mini-grid project developers with a series of questions about the EHS impacts throughout the phases of a project life cycle. During the early design stages , the answers to these questions may not be clear, but identifying answers as early as possible will save money and time in the long run and result in more effective EHS management.

The Tracking Checklist: Environmental, Health and Safety Impact Management can be used to track how EHS impacts are addressed throughout the life cycle of a project.

Relevant Case Studies

Bamiyan Renewable Energy Program (BREP) . BREP developed a large-scale solar PV mini-grid to replace diesel generators in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan region. As of 2016, the project provides reliable electricity to businesses, government services and more than 2,000 homes. This case study discusses the identification of EHS impacts of a mini-grid project in Afghanistan.

Environmental Impacts and Best Practices

Argonne National Laboratory (2010). A Review of Battery Life-Cycle Analysis: State of Knowledge and Critical Needs . This literature review presents an evaluation of life cycle inventory studies for six battery technologies.

International Energy Agency (2011). The Role of Energy Storage for Mini-Grid Stabilization . This document describes several battery and other energy-storage technologies, including a section on environmental impacts.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2012). Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation . This report is an assessment of literature on the scientific technological, environmental, economic and social aspects of the contribution of six renewable energy sources (bioenergy, direct solar energy, geothermal energy, hydropower, ocean energy and wind energy) to climate change mitigation.

The Cadmus Group Inc. (2014, Draft). USAID Sector Environmental Guidelines: Small-Scale Energy . This energy-sector specific guideline is USAID’s principal source of environmental guidance. It addresses potential, typical adverse environmental impacts, environmental good practices, environmental mitigation and monitoring guidance and an annotated bibliography of references.

Union of Concerned Scientists (2013). Environmental Impact of Renewable Energy Technologies . This website provides an overview of the potential environmental impacts of six types of renewable energy: wind power, solar power, geothermal energy, biomass for electricity, hydroelectric power and hydrokinetic energy.

Wisions of Sustainability (2013). Mini-Grid . This website provides an overview of mini-grids, with several case studies. It includes a general description of environmental risks of mini-grids and a description of environmental issues in each case study.

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Research Article Volume 3 Issue 2

A mini project: monitoring and assessment for water quality of study area, gombak river

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1 Aquatic Science Programme, Department of Applied Sciences, UCSI University, Malaysia 2 Aquatic Science Student Association, Department of Applied Sciences, UCSI University, Malaysia 3 Stella Maris International School, Malaysia

Correspondence: Lim LH, Department of Applied Sciences, UCSI University, No.1 Jalan Menara Gading, UCSI Heights, 56000 Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, W. P. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tel 603-910-188-80

Received: December 18, 2017 | Published: March 14, 2018

Citation: Regina LZL, Teo SS, Tennat A, et al. A mini project: monitoring and assessment for water quality of study area, gombak river. MOJ Eco Environ Sci. 2018;3(2):60-64. DOI: 10.15406/mojes.2018.03.00067

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The proposal for this project was submitted to the National River Care Fund, Malaysia on Sept-Oct 2016 by a group of students from the UCSI University Aquatic Science Student Association (AQSA). The location of the project was selected as a continuation of the community services carried out by a previous batch of students. The seven month project was used to measure water quality parameters for the Gombak river at the Batu 12 village location. Samples were collected each month from February 2017 until August 2017. Based on the water quality testing which indicated that the water is not contaminated or polluted, it was decided that an aquaponic system would be constructed instead of the hydroponic system mentioned in the proposal because the water quality is good enough for both vegetables and fish to grow and the community can benefit from this system. A suitable area for setting the systems up was identified and site preparation activities were commenced immediately. The water in the aquaponic system was quarantined for a month before the fish were transfered to it from the laboratory. Local communities are guided and advised to monitor the systems and seed germination will be carried out by them regularly. The students from UCSI University were able to convert their knowledge learned in classes into a practical application during the project timeline.

Introduction

Overpopulation has become one of the most pressing environmental concerns. This increase in world population has led to more pressure affecting some of the core environmental aspects of our existence. Aspects including energy security, climate change, air pollution, water quality and land-use change. The expansion of human activities pressures the environmental services that are supplied by nature. The environmental impacts derived from global warming, acid rain, air pollution, waste disposal, water pollution and many more affect every ecosystem and organism. Environmental issues have become an important concern and are an important part of international relations. Society, as a whole, is becoming more aware of the environmental impacts that we, humans, are creating. Advances in information technology and growing access to the internet means that greater numbers of people have access to more information than at any other time in human history. This knowledge availability can be one of the drivers that can help us to overcome the environmental issues that we have created. Non-governmental organizations (NGO), with cooperation from state governments, have come together to derive strategies related to the protection of Mother Earth for future generations. One of the methods to find out the causal agents or problems that might be affecting an ecosystem is by monitoring and assessment. The principles of environmental monitoring and assessment is designing the monitoring systems using different parameters, and then use that monitoring information in assessing the effects of natural resources management and pollution risks. Environmental monitoring is necessary to estimate the present status of the ecosystem and thus to establish a baseline for further monitoring. This baseline can then be used to estimate trends and identify the problem in the environment and test for compliance with standards. This type of approach is especially appropriate for aquatic systems. In order to identify and estimate the possible types and amounts of contaminants entering the water-bodies a panel of potential contaminants first needs to be established. Statistical analysis is commonly used to ensure all the measurements taken at regular intervals over a substantial period of time have a useful degree of reliability. 1

Natural resources support economic activities in many ways. In Malaysia, individuals and organizations are needed for cooperative action to support effective and sustainable natural resource use. However, as mentioned above, human population size has increased tremendously and this means demand for resources and goods has also grown. This increase in demand and pressure on environmental services can be clearly seen as an impact on numerous water-bodies around the country around the country. Increasingly, the rivers and sea have been damaged by the disposing of all kinds of waste into these systems. Due to such irresponsible behavior, the ponds, lakes, stream, rivers, estuaries and oceans are becoming polluted in Malaysia (Malaysia Environmental Quality Report 2009). Water quality is the evidence of the health of an ecosystem. It sustains the ecological processes for organism populations, wetlands, birdlife and vegetation. At various sites along the Gombak River (Sungai Gombak), the major problems contributing to pollution are sewage discharge, chemical discharge, wastewater treatment plant discharge, industrial discharge and rapid urbanization. 2 , 3 The Malaysia government has implemented a number of campaigns to collect solids wastes from the Gombak River and as a result the impact of solid waste has been reduced. For example, River of Life (ROF) was tasked by the Department of Irrigation and Drain (DID) to monitor, coordinate and ensure the river is well managed. Unfortunately, the most difficult types of waste to remove are dissolved salts such as nitrates, phosphates, ammonia and other nutrients, and toxic metal ions.

Another impact is suspended particulates, particularly from runoff from tin mining and palm oil plantations. 4 , 5 This impacts the turbidity of the water, which has an impact on aquatic life and may cause issues with spawning, feeding and fowling of gill slits. 6 , 7 These issues affect a significant area of Malaysia. However, it impacts those groups of people designated as “Orang Asli” more severely than most others. The Orang Asli are the ethnic natives of Malaysia and still rely heavily on traditional methods of food gathering and for fresh water. These traditional methods are greatly dependent on rivers. 8 One such catchment area and river is the Gombak river system.

An option for supplementing the traditional methods of food harvest from rivers is the use of aquaponics. Particularly gravity flow systems that will not require electricity and can use indigenous species. This sort of system can supplement, or even temporarily replace, traditional harvest when the environment is placed under stress from human impacts. Aquaponics is an approach that utilizes both aquaculture for raring fish and hydroponics for growing plants. Each part of the system supplements the other and nitrogenous waste, which can be very harmful to the environment, is reduced or removed. 9 ‒12 Therefore, there is a need to propose a plan in order to monitor and manage the status of the Gombak River by measuring the water quality and analyzing the parameters of pH, Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Dissolved Oxygen (DO), turbidity, ammonia content, phosphate content, heavy metals and total suspended solids. In addition the use of a naturally occurring species of fish, Tilapia, was proposed as a bio-indicator species. This species was supplemented with another fish, Puyu, and a local vegetable species called Kangkong.

Site description

The study area of this proposal is the Gombak River. The Gombak River is a slow-flowing river that flows through the Selangor and Kuala Lumpur districts of peninsula Malaysia. The Gombak River is located mainly in Gombak District, Selangor and the downstream zone is located in the capital, Kuala Lumpur. This river has confluences with other streams such as Batu River, Untut River and Klang River. It is a tributary area in the upper part of the Klang river basin. Around 60% of the catchment is steep mountains with heights of up to 1220m. The river drainage system is elongated to the south-west of Kuala Lumpur. The Sungai Pusu, Sungai Keroh, and Sungai Salak feed into the Gombak River. The drainage basin is 22.2km with an average width of 5.5km and an area of 123.3 square km. The Gombak River joins with the Batu River and then meets with the Klang River in the center of Kuala Lumpur city. The watershed areas are enclosed by hilly mountains. It can be divided into three main sections; upper zone, middle zone and lower zone. The upper zone is an undisturbed forest reserve. The middle and lower zones flow directly into the urban area of Kuala Lumpur and show worsening water quality. 13 The Gombak River is selected in this study because there are many Orang Asli settlements located along its length. These indigenous peoples depend on the river for many of their daily activities. The location of the Gombak River is shown in Figure 1 .

Sources of pollution

There are a number of activities carried out within the river basin that impact the environment. These include deforestation, agricultural activities, and industrial and urban development. Rapid human population increase and uncontrolled human activities have led to pollution of the river. Recently, the water quality of the Gombak River was categorized as falling within Class II and Class III (Malaysian Water Quality standards) and this indicates the river water is polluted and needs treatment. 14 If action is not taken in this situation, the quality of water will deteriorate to Class IV which indicates the water is seriously contaminated. Thus, the objective of this study was to monitor and assess the water quality of the Gombak River to find out if it is suitable for human consumption, especially for Orang Asli settlements.

Methodology

Water quality monitoring is defined as water sampling and analysis. The monitoring program will evaluate the physical, chemical and biological parameters. Each parameter, including pH, turbidity, ammonia content, phosphate content, and total suspended solid was monitored and analyzed from February 2017 to August 2017. The sampling locations are at, or near to, Batu 12 Village (3.289; 101.731). Water sampling is carried out at 6 different points along the river. There are 2 different points upstream of the Batu 12 village, 2 different points within the Batu 12 village and 2 different points downstream of the Gombak River watershed. These points were selected as this river is the main source for various activities in Selangor and the status of the water quality can be determined from these points. Water samples collected from different sites are analyzed and tested with standard testing kits. The water samples collected will be tested for water quality by measuring physio-chemical parameters including pH, turbidity, ammonia content, phosphate content and potassium content. Determination of water quality using physio-chemical parameters will be tested in situ . In addition, a trial aquaponics system was also utilized to initially monitor water quality and also serve as a test bed for food production. Fish and vegetables that are locally available were selected for the initial monitoring and trial period. The fish species selected are Tilapia and Puyu. The vegetable is Kangkong. The water is delivered from the river to the aquaponics system by gravity flow and then returns to the river by gravity flow. The Kangkong grows on a sponge substrate in trays suspened above plastic tanks and water drip feeds through to the tank. The Tilapia and Puyu are in the black plastic tanks. See Figure 1 below for a view of the aquaponics setup ( Figure 2 ).

water pollution mini project

Figure 1 The location of the Gombak River.

water pollution mini project

Figure 2 Aquaponics system.

All the parameters are tested both in situ and ex situ and the data are recorded in Table 1 . The tests results from the runoff water from the aquaponics system are included in Table 1 as a combined total as the system is directly linked to the river. Turbidity is a measurement of water clarity by measuring the amount of light scattered and absorbed by a water sample rather than transmitted in straight lines through the sample. Turbidity of the river from Feb 2017 to Aug 2017 is averaged as 3.5 NTU.

Table 1 The water quality of the Gombak River from Feb 2017 to Aug 2017 in the area of the Batu 12 village

Based on the water analysis from Feb 2017 to August 2017, the river water does not have any readings that indicate it exceeds the Malaysian guidelines for water quality. Nitrates were found to be present in the water in low amounts, 11.70 + 2.58 mg/L. Excess nitrates (>50 mg/L) in water is a sign of poor water quality. In an anaerobic environment (sludge/soil at the bottom), denitrification can be used to convert nitrate back to nitrite and from there, to nitrogen gas. This removes the total nitrogen in the aquatic system. Levels exceeding 50mg/L (ppm) indicate an unhealthy condition for aquatic organisms. In a water body containing aquatic organisms, carbon dioxide is produced during respiration. Excess carbon dioxide can be removed from the water by the photosynthetic processes of aquatic plants, thus increasing the pH levels. Carbon dioxide plays a role in lowering pH. pH is used to categorize the sample as acid, neutral or alkaline (basic). The pH levels of most natural waters are between pH 5.0 to pH 8.5 Fresh rainwater may be around pH 5.5 to 6.0. It is undesirable to have pH levels too high in a water body as free ammonia increases with rising pH. The pH levels of the water sampled from our practical site were on average 6.72 + 0.25. It is neutral and within the range of acceptable water pH levels. Copper is toxic to aquatic organisms. It is sometimes used to kill unwanted algae, fungi and molluscs. Copper is moderately soluble in water and binds easily to sediments and organic matter. Fish gills may become frayed and lose their ability to regulate salt transport when exposed to copper. The copper levels found at the sampling sites were on average 0 mg/L. This is a good sign as it would be detrimental to the health of the aquatic organisms living in the water as well as the humans living in the area.

Also included in the chemical monitoring is the discharge from the aquaponics systems. As the nitrate and pH measurements indicate, the aquaponics system was able to remove, or neutralise, and possible nitrogenous wastes that the fish will have generated and the system does not contribute any contaminants into the environment. While the measurement of physico-chemical parameters is a good start, long-term water quality can also be measured using bio-indicators which may give a better indication of the sometimes-complex relations of all the components in the water. Bio-indicators are naturally occurring organisms that can function as parameters to assess the health of the environment. Bio-indicators are living organisms including plants, animals, planktons and microbes that give an idea of the natural ecosystem’s health. They are used to detect changes or trends of current status of ecosystem, monitor for the presence of pollutants and the effects on the ecosystem and monitor the progress of environmental action on the pollution. Aquatic microorganisms and fish communities are used in this research as they have sensitive characteristics to wide-ranging of chemicals exposed and can readily interpret biological effects of the contamination. 15 In this case the bio-indicators are the organisms utilised in the aquaponics system. According to the Orang Asli at Batu 12 village, they mainly obtain Tilapia from the river (Personal communication). Fish communities respond significantly to all kinds of environment changes. Their sensitivity to the health of water quality serves as a good indicator to monitor environmental degradation. Both Tilapia (25 pcs) and Puyu (8 pcs) are able to grow in the aquaponic tanks for months, until achieving adult maximal growth and subsequently being harvested. Kangkong seeds are able to germinate after 3 days and continue growing in the aquaponic system. The successfull growth of these three organisms indicates that the water quality is of sufficiently good quality and does not contain any observable harmfull substances. Microorganisms are involved in biodegradation of sewage that may be introduced into a river and the sewerage, or other organic waste, contains a high amount of biodegradable organic matter. Microorganisms can be a good bio-indicator because they utilize a lot of oxygen and this will directly affect the dissolved oxygen in the water-body. The sharp decline in dissolved oxygen will causes mortality to the aquatic organisms. In addition, high nutrient levels, in particular nitrogen and phosphate, will also encourage the growth of plankton and may lead to an algal bloom. Algal blooms causes deterioration of the water quality and fish mortality. Some algal blooms are also extremely toxic to other living organisms. 16 ‒20

The initial water testing indicated that the water was of sufficiently good quality to be able to initiate an aquaponics programme. Testing of the response of two fish species to the river water provided further data as to good water quality. The aquaponics system can now run according to need. Further long-term monitoring of water quality will be needed and it is suggested that bio-indicators be included in this programme.

Acknowledgements

Firstly, we would like to thank Yayasan Hasanah for funding the project and National River Care Fund for implementing this project. Furthermore, we wish to thanks all AQSA members and UCSI University for the support throughout the projects .

Conflict of interest

The author decline there is no conflict of interest.

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©2018 Regina, et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the, Creative Commons Attribution License ,--> which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.

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