Resources on Pollutants

Nutrient Pollution

Delivery of high concentrations of nitrate and phosphate carried into receiving waters from sanitary treatment facilities and fertilized fields, golf courses, parks, and yards by stormwater runo promotes accelerated growth of algae through a process called eutrophication. Blooms of planktonic algae accumulate and then decompose, consuming much of dissolved oxygen available in the water column. As the decaying organic matter settles near the bottom, waters become hypoxic, with dissolved oxygen levels insu cient to sustain fish and invertebrates, or anoxic, with essentially no dissolved oxygen. The "dead zone" of the Louisiana coast is an example of the effects of nutrient enrichment.

Common Sources: Fertilizers, Pet Waste, Improperly Managed Livestock , Malfunctioning Septic Tank

Things you can do: Apply fertilizers sparingly, Pick up after your pet, Manage livestock better, Wash Car at Carwash, Maintain Septic Tank



Chemical Pollution

Substances harmful to organisms' health, including metals, pesticides, persistent organic pollutants, chlorination byproducts, and pharmaceuticals, find their way into estuarine waters through pathways like direct pesticide or herbicide application, storage leaks, accidental releases, or atmospheric deposition. Some waterborne chemical contaminants adhere to suspended silts and sediments and tend to bioaccumulate in tissues of aquatic life, from algae to fish, ultimately threatening the health of humans.

Common Sources: Old paint, Antifreeze, Oil Leak, Exessive use of pesticides, Polystyrene Plastic

Things you can do: Dispose of paint, household chemicals, tires, prescription drugs properly, Avoid polystrene by carrying your own cup



Sediment and Erosion Pollution

Sediments degrade water condition whether accumulating on the bottom or suspended in the water column. Accumulated sediments smother and disrupt benthic, or bottom, organisms and habitats. Suspended sediments reduce water clarity necessary for growth of submerged aquatic vegetation, disrupt predator/prey dynamics in fish, and a ect immune function, physiological condition, and tissue and cellular structure in several estuarine fishes. Sediment delivery is increased and exacerbated by stream bank erosion and poor construction site management.

Common Sources: Inclreased runoff from roofs, driveways, parkinglots, roads and manicured lawns., Head cuts from increased runoff

Things you can do: Plant a Tree, Install runoff prevention measures, Petition local government for stormwater plan, Use porous paving materials, Install a rain barrel, Install french drains



Bacterial Pollution

Disease-causing microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and other single-celled organisms, are referred to as pathogens. While the vast majority of bacteria are harmless or beneficial, some, like Salmonella, cause human health problems. Commonly used bacterial indicators of water pollution like Escherichia coli and Enterobacter, normally associated with fecal waste, are used to assess pathogen levels in waters introduced through sanitary sewer overflows, faulty septic systems, or poorly managed livestock operations. (From CCMP)

Common Sources: Pet Waste, Sewer Overflow, Improperly managed Livestock

Things you can do: Pick up After Your Pet, Maintain Septic System



Litter Pollution

Litter is not only unsightly, it causes a variety of problems to the ecosystem as it enters our streams, rivers, and bays. Much of the litter found in area cleanups is single-use plastic food and drink containers, but other types of litter include discarded food waste, tires, paper and cardboard trash, and discarded fishing gear.

Litter has wide ranging negative effects on the environment. While plastics never biodegrade, they slowly degrade into smaller and smaller pieces that can cause significant harm to fish and marine invertebrates that mistake it for food. Plastics along with old tires can also leach harmful chemicals into the water causing wide ranging negative effects. Tires and aluminum cans often provide a habitat for disease carrying mosquitoes.

The prevalence of these unnatural substances in the environment has a long term detrimental effect on the ecosystems of the fresh-water, estuaries, and oceans that we value.

Common Sources: Plastic Drink Bottles, Polystyrene Cups and Togo Containers, Shopping Bags, Food Wrappers, Straws, Discarded Food, Paper Napkins, Tires, Plastic Utensils, Fishing Gear, Balloons

Things you can do: Carry Your Own Cup, Recycle Your Water Bottle, Bring Your Own Bag, Carry a Lunchbox