The Different Types of Water Pollution

In today’s article, we will review various types of water pollution. We list the reasons and terminology to describe this huge problem in modern society.

pollution seaWater pollution is becoming an ever-increasing problem in today’s society. Our over-reliance on chemicals and a rapidly increasing population are just two of the reasons why.

In today’s article, we take a look at the different types of water pollution that affect us all around the world.

Types of water pollution are classified according to their source. There are 3 main categories that describe the source of water pollution.

  1. Point-source pollution – Point source pollution originates from a single source like a factory or an oil spill.
  2. Non-point source pollution – this comes from multiple points. Examples of this would be rainfall and snowmelt that carry pollutants over large areas and deposit them in lakes and river.
  3. Transboundary pollution – this is pollution on the largest scale and involves crossing borders and countries. This type of pollution travels vast distances by way of ocean currents and strong winds.

Biology of Freshwater Pollution (4th Edition)
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Next, let’s take a look at the different types of water pollution. Each of these 3 categories we just described is caused by a different method of pollution. Here are the most common ones:

Surface Water Pollution

This is the type of pollution that is most common to us as it is the most visible. This is what we see floating in rivers, oceans, and lakes in the form of plastic bottles, trash, oil, and other chemicals. Fracking is a more recent contributor to surface water pollution in our local waterways.

surface water pollution

Microbial Pollution

Microbial pollution relates to viruses, bacteria, and protozoa found in water. These are naturally occurring organisms that can be very dangerous. Examples of these are E.coli, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium. Microbial pollution is a particular problem for those in developing countries that don’t have water treatment plants or any form of water sterilization.

Microbial pollution is commonly caused by:

  • Landfill
  • Animal waste
  • Sewage that isn’t properly dealt with
  • Industrial sources like paper and food processing factories and slaughterhouses

Water chlorination and ultraviolet light filters are ways to disinfect water and kill these viruses and bacteria. You can find out more about UV and well water filters in our guide.

Groundwater Pollution

Groundwater pollution is commonly caused by chemical pesticides and herbicides used in agriculture. This kind of pollution is becoming more commonplace due to our reliance on more “productive” farming techniques that give greater yields.

These chemicals are particularly problematic for those with private well water supplies. A good water filter is highly recommended for those who do not have local authorities test their water supply.

Chemical Pollution

Chemical run-off from farms, factories, and industrial plants flows into rivers, lakes, groundwater, and seas. Many of these chemicals are just emerging as being hazardous to our health and are particularly hard to identify and protect against.

chemical pollution

Chemicals kill local animals and their habitats destroyed. A further consequence is that the toxins that they ingest transfer to humans when we consume them like meat in the supermarket.

Pesticides, metals, solvents, and petroleum are all common chemical run-off that is detected in waterways across the country.

The most recognizable form of chemical pollution to us would be oil spills, which are never far from the media. But, this type of pollution goes on every day on a smaller scale much closer to home.

Oxygen Depletion Pollution

In order for a natural water habitat to remain healthy and self-sustaining, it requires a certain level of oxygen to be present. When excessive levels of biodegradable substances are present in a body of water, the number of microorganisms that feed on this waste increases too. In turn, they use up the available oxygen in the water. When oxygen levels drop, the harmless aerobic microorganisms die and more harmful anaerobic microorganisms start to take over. These can produce things such as ammonia and sulfide which can be hazardous to our health. A lack of oxygen in water can also be dangerous for animals like fish.

Nutrient Pollution

Fertilizers and wastewater cause nutrient pollution. By increasing the number of water plants like algae, the oxygen in the water can be severely depleted. Oxygen depletion can be really harmful to an ecosystem. Take a look at the last section to find out why.

algae

Suspended Matter Pollution

This happens when pollutants don’t mix or dissolve into the water. It results in large particles that form a layer on the waterbed. This layer prevents plants and animals that live on the seabed or at the bottom of lakes and rivers from getting nutrients. It also changes the landscape and environment that they are so used to.


Well, that’s the end of our post on the types of water pollution affecting us. Check back soon to read more on the environment, water filtration, and pollution. If you don’t want to miss out on any new posts then make sure you ‘Like” us on Facebook or join our mailing list.

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