Group 4 - What's in the water?

Matthew Yao, Rachel Bethune, Ben Fisher, Jace Kennedy


The enrichment of an ecosystem with chemical nutrients, typically compounds containing nitrogen, phosphorus, or both. Human activity may accelerate the death of a water ecosystem through runoff from agriculture and development. The over abundance of these chemical nutrients results in plant and algae growth that will, deprive the water of oxygen essentially killing aquatic life.

Types of Pollution

Point Source Pollution

-the release of pollutants from a single clearly identifiable site, e.g. a factory or sewerage pipe.

Non-Point Source Pollution

-the release of pollutants from numerous, widely dispersed origins, e.g. chemicals spread on fields.

Point source pollution is easier to manage as it can be found more easily. Non-point source pollution may have many sources and may be virtually impossible to detect where it originate.

Major Sources of Pollution

Combustion of fossil fuels:

Pollutants include: carbon dioxide; sulphur dioxide; nitrogen oxides; and photochemical smog (including ozone).

Effects include: Greenhouse gas emissions – Global Warming/Climate Change

Acid deposition/acid rain – trees, fish, and respiratory diseases

Domestic Waste:

Pollutants include: Organic waste (food and sewerage); waste paper; plastics, tins and glass

Effects include: Eutrophication; water borne diseases; landfills (forests cut to make space etc…); energy required to manufacture it, recyclables often not recycled

Industrial Waste:

Pollutants include: heavy metals; fluorides; lead; acids etc…

Effects include: Poisoning, e.g. mercury, lead etc..; reduces solubility of gases in water therefore less dissolved oxygen for aquatic organisms.

Agricultural Waste:

Pollutants include: Nitrates (fertilizers); organic waste and pesticides

Effects include: Eutrophication; spread of disease, bioaccumulation in food chains.

Detecting and Monitoring Pollution

  • Biotic Index
A scale that measures quality quality of an ecosystem based on the presence and abundance of species living in the ecosystem.

  • Biochemical (Biological) Oxygen Demand (BOD)
Amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic decomposers (microorganisms) to break down the organic materials in a given volume of water at a certain temperature over a specified time period.

Indicator Species (Biotic)

Plants and animals that show something about the environment by their presence, absence, abundance, or scarcity.

Abiotic Indicators

Climate includes the rainfall, temperature and wind patterns that occur in an area, and is the most important abiotic component of a grassland ecosystem.

Water quality determines the health of an aquatic ecosystem, and the ecosystems surrounding the river, pond, lake, etc.

HOA Survey Results

How to improve the pond's health

An aerator will help maintain healthy levels of dissolved oxygen which will improve aquatic life, speed up the rate of organic composition, and prevent kills due to low oxygen levels. Also, aeration keeps water moving in low circulation areas so that algae doesn’t build up.

Using chemical fertilizers causes runoff into water sources. This puts excess nitrogen and phosphorus in the water, making the aquatic ecosystem out of balance. Also, the fertilizer causes toxic algae growth in the water, killing the fish. Organic fertilizers are a great substitute because they get more absorbed by plants instead of contaminating water sources. Going without fertilizer is the best option, if possible.

Home owners have to try to keep litter from flying into the pond water by picking up litter from the streets and ensuring that their trash cans are closed firmly on trash pick-up days.


Aerators can decrease the amount of oxygen in the pond in the long run. In rare cases, they can create gas bubble disease which causes bubbles to form in the blood and tissues of aquatic animals.

Even though organic fertilizer is a better alternative to chemical fertilizer, there can still be low levels of toxins in them.

Pond Water


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