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Water: Office of Wastewater Management

Water Pollution


What is water pollution? Water pollution is what happens when factories, wastewater treatment plants, construction sites, and people put things in the water that make it dirty. At one time, factories dumped untreated waste into the water. This is an example of water pollution. Not only does water pollution come from what is dumped into the water, but what is dumped on the land. When you put trash in a storm drain, toilet or in a body of water (rivers, lakes, streams, oceans) it causes the water to be polluted. Just think, if someone were changing their oil on their car and they dumped the oil on the ground, what would happen? Would you want to eat the fish that came from a waterway where you knew that oil went? Even today, accidents on ships and off-shore drilling rigs spill oil into the oceans. Animal waste runoff from livestock feedlots seeps into groundwater, lakes, rivers and streams that eventually make it to the ocean. Fertilizers and pesticides wash off from fields and forests and soak into lakes, rivers, streams and ground water. Wastes from mines drain into water. Garbage disposals and toilets are also a large waste contributor.

graphic of polluted water.

Imagine how you would feel if you saw trash floating in a river where you were fishing. Sometimes polluted water smells, or looks muddy or too ugly for swimming or boating. But even water that looks clean and smells good can be polluted. It may be loaded with germs and dangerous chemicals that you cannot see or smell.

Polluted water may be unsafe for drinking, bathing, swimming or fishing. Fish and plants that live in polluted water can absorb the poisons from the water. If eaten, the person could get sick. In polluted water, many fish and plants cannot live at all.

Fortunately, there are rules in place - called regulations. These rules or regulations ensure that the wastes that are dumped, are properly cleaned so that you can fish, swim and enjoy the water.

Nature recycles fresh water. Nature can only recycle so much, so it is important for you to take care of your water. Please do not throw trash in storm drains, toilets or spill something down a drain that should not be spilled there. Check with your mom or dad and ask them how you can help take care of the water.

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