Earth Science

Human Impacts on the Earth Environment

Protecting Water from Pollution

Study Tip
Many developing countries lack resources for safe drinking water and tend to have greater incidences of water borne diseases.

Reduction of Water Pollution Processes

  • By preventing water from being polluted
  • Clean polluted water

Keeping water from polluted requires laws such as the Clean Water Act (1972). This law made the Environmental Protection Agency help reduce discharge of pollution into waterways, finance wastewater treatment plants, and manage runoff.

The United Nations and other international groups set to improve water quality standards by providing the technology for treating water.

Study Tip
Many developing countries lack resources for safe drinking water and tend to have greater incidences of water borne diseases.

Water Treatment Processes

The goal of water treatment is to provide safe water for drinking, medicine, agriculture, and industrial processes.

  • Waste water contains hundreds of contaminants such as suspended solids, harmful bacteria, and dissolved inorganic compounds.
  • Waste water treatment methods depend on the type of waste water being treated and the desired results.
Sewage treatment
Water Purification:
Removes contaminants from sewage, such as solids and particles
Removes bacteria, fungi, iron, sulfur, and artificial chemical pollutants from water

How Can Individuals Help?

  • Recycle or find disposal facilities for motor oil and household chemicals
  • Reduce lawn, garden, or farm chemicals
  • Fix automobile or boat engine leaks
  • Keep waste out of sewer drains
A sewage treatment station
A sewage treatment station
Concept Check
  • State the Clean Water Act and explain what the act shows about human concern for water.
  • Describe sewage treatment and water purification methods that humans perform to clean water.
  • Name examples of ways that humans can help improve water quality in everyday life.