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Causes of Water Pollution 
The Industrial development Urbanization and for achieving more comforts in life, the human has polluted the 
surrounding including the aquatic environment. Most of the available water either surface or underground is severely 
polluted. A number of factors causing to contaminate potable water are; 
• Municipal Wastes: It comprise of the human excreta, sewage, kitchen wastes and storm water allowed to flow into 
drains, sewers, canals, and rivers in untreated state, causing to pollute water bodies. The sewage is also used for 
irrigation without undergoing proper treatment. The wastewater has certain amount of nitrates, phosphates and 
potassium (NPK), which provide the essential nutrients for the growth crops. 
• Human and animal wastes contains pathogenic microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, protozoa and worms. These 
harmful organisms caused to make the surface and subsurface resources polluted. The human beings and other 
animals are affected when they come in contact or consume the contaminated aquatic life. Wastewater is produced at 
a rate of 70-80% of the consumed quality. This contains biological, inorganic, organic and industrial compounds, 
therefore more BOD is required for its treatment. 
•Industrial Effluents: Industrial effluents consists of organic and inorganic salts, pathogenic organisms, toxic 
materials, metal scraps, acids, alkalis, heavy metals etc. Pakistan is facing the serious dilemma of industrial pollution. 
The wastes and effluents are being dumped in water courses untreated. At least 50 metals have been detected in the 
effluents and these includes Mercury, Cadmium, Chromium and lead which are extremely harmful for human health.
Water Pollutants 
Clean water has to be used for intended purpose, and then returned will be polluted. The agents caused to pollute 
water is pollutant. The major pollutants are (i) Oxygen Demanding wastes (ii) Nutrients (iii) Pathogenic organisms 
(iv) Suspended solids (v) Salts and other dissolved solids (vi) Toxic metals and Organic compounds (vii) Heat 
Oxygen Demanding wastes (ODW): Oxygen demanding wastes are substances that oxidize in water. As 
microorganisms decompose these wastes, they utilize oxygen dissolved in water, which reduce the concentration of 
DO. As DO drops, fish and other aquatic life are threatened and in extreme case, killed. The critical level of DO 
varies greatly among species. Like trout and salmon species of fish required cold water with DO of 7.5 mg/l, while 
carp can survive at 3 mg/l. The US-EPA recommended 4 mg/l of DO for various species of fish survival. The low 
level of DO produced undesirable odor, tastes and color reduce the attractiveness for domestic and for recreational 
purposes. ODW are biodegradable organic and inorganic substances present in municipal wastewater or in effluents 
from various industries like food processing and paper production. Similarly the natural organic matters like plant 
leaves and dead animals if disposed up in water contribute to oxygen depletion. There are several measures of DO 
like COD and BOD. 
Nutrients: Nutrients are chemicals like nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon, sulfur, calcium, potassium, iron manganese, 
cobalt and boron that are essential to the growth of plants. In case of water quality, nutrients are pollutants when 
high concentration caused growth of algae. The presence of algae adversely affect the quality of water for drinking 
and recreational purposes. The decomposition of algae used DO from water leaving less concentration for other 
aquatic life. Algae and decaying materials add color, turbidity, and objectionable taste to water, that are difficult to
Water Pollutants 
to remove. Aquatic species require a number of nutrients for their growth and reproduction. The three important 
nutrients are carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus. Plants require large amounts of these three nutrients and the deficiency 
caused to limit the growth. The nutrients that is less available than the demand is known as limiting nutrients. The 
algal 
growth can be controlled by reducing the supply of these nutrients. The Carbon is usually available from various 
sources like alkalinity, dissolved CO2 from atmosphere and decaying organic matter, so it is not a limiting nutrient. 
The major sources of Nitrogen are municipal wastewater, runoff from animal feedlots, chemical fertilizers and 
nitrogen 
deposition from atmosphere, certain bacteria and blue-green algae. It is very difficult to control nitrogen specially in 
lakes. Nitrogen presence in drinking water is usually in the form of Nitrate (NO3), which it self is not toxic. However 
certain bacteria found in the infant intestinal convert Nitrate to high toxic Nitrite (NO2) . Hemoglobin in the blood 
stream has more affinity for nitrite than oxygen and when oxygen is replaced by nitrites it is known as 
methemoglobinemia. It causes a bluish discoloration of the infant, and is commonly known as blue baby syndrome. 
Phosphorus is another essential nutrient for plant growth. Human sources of phosphorus are the agricultural runoff 
of heavy fertilizers and domestic sewage. In sewage phosphorus is from human feces and part of Detergents. 
Phosphorus in detergents is usually in the form of sodium tripolyphosphate Na2 P3 O10. when wash water 
containing this ingredient is discarded the following reaction occurs and slowly releases the orthophosphate
Water Pollutants 
• Pathogenic organisms: Pathogens are disease causing microorganisms that grow and multiply within the host. 
The growth of microbes in a host is infection. Pathogens may be bacteria, viruses and protozoa responsible for 
several diseases like cholera, dysentery, typhoid, hepatitis, malaria etc. The intestinal discharges of an infected 
individual, a carrier may contain billions of pathogens, which if allowed to enter in water supply can cause 
epidemic diseases. The carrier may not necessary to have symptoms of diseases, which makes it even more 
difficult to protect water supply from contaminations. If concentration of pathogens are high, such water may 
also not fit for swimming and fishing purposes. Certain shellfish can be toxic because they concentrate 
pathogenic organisms in their tissue, making the toxicity levels in the shellfish much greater than the levels in 
the surrounding water. 
• Suspended Solids: Organic and inorganic particles that are carried by the wastewater into a receiving water is 
termed suspended solids. When the speed of water is reduced by flowing into a lake or reservoir, many of these 
particles settles to the bottom as sediments. Similarly when eroded soil particles are being carried by water and 
are not settled are sediments. Colloidal particles when do not settle easily caused turbidity. Organic suspended 
solids may also exert DO. When sediments are deposited in lakes and reservoirs their usefulness is reduced. In 
some rapidly moving mountain streams, sediment from mining and logging operations has destroyed many living 
places for aquatic organisms. 
• Salts and other Dissolved solids: Water naturally accumulates a variety of dissolved solids and salts as it passes 
through soils and rocks on its way to sea. The salts includes cations such as Sodium, Calcium, Magnesium, and 
potassium while the common anions are Chloride, Sulfate and bicarbonate.
Water Pollutants 
The presence of these dissolved cations and anions are termed as total dissolved solids (TDS). Fresh water usually 
have less than 1500 mg/l TDS. Brackish water have up to 5000 mg/l, saline water above 5000 mg/l and sea water 
more than 30,000 mg/l. The concentration of TDS is an indicator of the usefulness of water for various applications. 
Like drinking water upper limit is 500 mg/l, livestock upto 10,000 mg/l. For crop production more than 500mg/l is a 
problem for salt tolerance crops, while more than 2100 mg/l need proper drainage system. All naturally occurring 
water has some amount of salt in it. A number of industries discharge high concentration of salts and urban runoff 
may contain large amounts where salts is used to keep ice from forming on roads in winter season. 
Similarly, the evapotranspiration increases salinity problem. The concentration in soils is usually controlled by 
flushing the salts with additional amount of irrigation water. This process increase the cost as well as contaminate 
water. If proper drainage is not available, then water table raises up along with dissolved salt and damage crops. 
Toxic Metal and Organic Compounds: Most metals are toxic, like aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, 
mercury 
Lead, iron and zinc. Some of these metals like chromium and iron are essential nutrients in out diet, but in high 
doses they can cause a range of adverse impacts on the body, including nerves system and kidney damage 
etc. Metals are non degradable and creates problems for human beings if their concentration increases in body. 
The chemicals that can be used for killing of organisms are insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides and 
fungicides..The three main group of synthetic organic insecticides are organochlorines also known as chlorinated
Water Pollutants 
hydrocarbons, organophosphates and carbamate. The most widely used organochlorine is DDT 
(dichlorodiphenyl trichloethane) is widely used to control insects, but are very persistent and soluble. It is 
very toxic to human beings and caused a number of diseases including cancer. Agricultural runoff often 
contains such agro-chemicals that has been applied on crops. Industrial wastewater contains either toxic 
metals or organic compounds if discharged in large quantities, make water unfit for intended purposes. Many 
toxic Compounds are concentrated in food chain, making fish unsafe for human consumption. Thus even 
small quantity of toxic compounds in water can be incompatible with the natural ecosystem and human use. 
Heat: The thermal and nuclear electric power plants requires large amount of cooling water. For example 
nuclear power plant warms about 150,000 m3/hr of cooling water by 10C0 as it passes through the plant 
condenser. If that heat is released to a local river or lake, the resulting rise in temperature can adversely 
affect life in the vicinity of thermal plume. For some fish like trout any increase in temperature is life 
threatening, while for other warm water is beneficial upto certain extent. Also the sudden change in 
temperature caused by plant can disturb the local ecology. Similarly the water releases by different industries 
are much hotter than the receiving waters. In some case hot water increases the metabolic activities of fish, 
causing more population. The demand of dissolved oxygen increases with the same rate, but the 
concentration reduces due to more consumption as well as the absorb capacity for DO is less in hot water 
than cool water. Similarly high temperatures increase the rate of oxygen depletion when oxygen demanding 
wastes are presents.
Water Pollutants 
hydrocarbons, organophosphates and carbamate. The most widely used organochlorine is DDT 
(dichlorodiphenyl trichloethane) is widely used to control insects, but are very persistent and soluble. It is 
very toxic to human beings and caused a number of diseases including cancer. Agricultural runoff often 
contains such agro-chemicals that has been applied on crops. Industrial wastewater contains either toxic 
metals or organic compounds if discharged in large quantities, make water unfit for intended purposes. Many 
toxic Compounds are concentrated in food chain, making fish unsafe for human consumption. Thus even 
small quantity of toxic compounds in water can be incompatible with the natural ecosystem and human use. 
Heat: The thermal and nuclear electric power plants requires large amount of cooling water. For example 
nuclear power plant warms about 150,000 m3/hr of cooling water by 10C0 as it passes through the plant 
condenser. If that heat is released to a local river or lake, the resulting rise in temperature can adversely 
affect life in the vicinity of thermal plume. For some fish like trout any increase in temperature is life 
threatening, while for other warm water is beneficial upto certain extent. Also the sudden change in 
temperature caused by plant can disturb the local ecology. Similarly the water releases by different industries 
are much hotter than the receiving waters. In some case hot water increases the metabolic activities of fish, 
causing more population. The demand of dissolved oxygen increases with the same rate, but the 
concentration reduces due to more consumption as well as the absorb capacity for DO is less in hot water 
than cool water. Similarly high temperatures increase the rate of oxygen depletion when oxygen demanding 
wastes are presents.

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Water pollutants

  • 1. Causes of Water Pollution The Industrial development Urbanization and for achieving more comforts in life, the human has polluted the surrounding including the aquatic environment. Most of the available water either surface or underground is severely polluted. A number of factors causing to contaminate potable water are; • Municipal Wastes: It comprise of the human excreta, sewage, kitchen wastes and storm water allowed to flow into drains, sewers, canals, and rivers in untreated state, causing to pollute water bodies. The sewage is also used for irrigation without undergoing proper treatment. The wastewater has certain amount of nitrates, phosphates and potassium (NPK), which provide the essential nutrients for the growth crops. • Human and animal wastes contains pathogenic microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, protozoa and worms. These harmful organisms caused to make the surface and subsurface resources polluted. The human beings and other animals are affected when they come in contact or consume the contaminated aquatic life. Wastewater is produced at a rate of 70-80% of the consumed quality. This contains biological, inorganic, organic and industrial compounds, therefore more BOD is required for its treatment. •Industrial Effluents: Industrial effluents consists of organic and inorganic salts, pathogenic organisms, toxic materials, metal scraps, acids, alkalis, heavy metals etc. Pakistan is facing the serious dilemma of industrial pollution. The wastes and effluents are being dumped in water courses untreated. At least 50 metals have been detected in the effluents and these includes Mercury, Cadmium, Chromium and lead which are extremely harmful for human health.
  • 2. Water Pollutants Clean water has to be used for intended purpose, and then returned will be polluted. The agents caused to pollute water is pollutant. The major pollutants are (i) Oxygen Demanding wastes (ii) Nutrients (iii) Pathogenic organisms (iv) Suspended solids (v) Salts and other dissolved solids (vi) Toxic metals and Organic compounds (vii) Heat Oxygen Demanding wastes (ODW): Oxygen demanding wastes are substances that oxidize in water. As microorganisms decompose these wastes, they utilize oxygen dissolved in water, which reduce the concentration of DO. As DO drops, fish and other aquatic life are threatened and in extreme case, killed. The critical level of DO varies greatly among species. Like trout and salmon species of fish required cold water with DO of 7.5 mg/l, while carp can survive at 3 mg/l. The US-EPA recommended 4 mg/l of DO for various species of fish survival. The low level of DO produced undesirable odor, tastes and color reduce the attractiveness for domestic and for recreational purposes. ODW are biodegradable organic and inorganic substances present in municipal wastewater or in effluents from various industries like food processing and paper production. Similarly the natural organic matters like plant leaves and dead animals if disposed up in water contribute to oxygen depletion. There are several measures of DO like COD and BOD. Nutrients: Nutrients are chemicals like nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon, sulfur, calcium, potassium, iron manganese, cobalt and boron that are essential to the growth of plants. In case of water quality, nutrients are pollutants when high concentration caused growth of algae. The presence of algae adversely affect the quality of water for drinking and recreational purposes. The decomposition of algae used DO from water leaving less concentration for other aquatic life. Algae and decaying materials add color, turbidity, and objectionable taste to water, that are difficult to
  • 3. Water Pollutants to remove. Aquatic species require a number of nutrients for their growth and reproduction. The three important nutrients are carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus. Plants require large amounts of these three nutrients and the deficiency caused to limit the growth. The nutrients that is less available than the demand is known as limiting nutrients. The algal growth can be controlled by reducing the supply of these nutrients. The Carbon is usually available from various sources like alkalinity, dissolved CO2 from atmosphere and decaying organic matter, so it is not a limiting nutrient. The major sources of Nitrogen are municipal wastewater, runoff from animal feedlots, chemical fertilizers and nitrogen deposition from atmosphere, certain bacteria and blue-green algae. It is very difficult to control nitrogen specially in lakes. Nitrogen presence in drinking water is usually in the form of Nitrate (NO3), which it self is not toxic. However certain bacteria found in the infant intestinal convert Nitrate to high toxic Nitrite (NO2) . Hemoglobin in the blood stream has more affinity for nitrite than oxygen and when oxygen is replaced by nitrites it is known as methemoglobinemia. It causes a bluish discoloration of the infant, and is commonly known as blue baby syndrome. Phosphorus is another essential nutrient for plant growth. Human sources of phosphorus are the agricultural runoff of heavy fertilizers and domestic sewage. In sewage phosphorus is from human feces and part of Detergents. Phosphorus in detergents is usually in the form of sodium tripolyphosphate Na2 P3 O10. when wash water containing this ingredient is discarded the following reaction occurs and slowly releases the orthophosphate
  • 4. Water Pollutants • Pathogenic organisms: Pathogens are disease causing microorganisms that grow and multiply within the host. The growth of microbes in a host is infection. Pathogens may be bacteria, viruses and protozoa responsible for several diseases like cholera, dysentery, typhoid, hepatitis, malaria etc. The intestinal discharges of an infected individual, a carrier may contain billions of pathogens, which if allowed to enter in water supply can cause epidemic diseases. The carrier may not necessary to have symptoms of diseases, which makes it even more difficult to protect water supply from contaminations. If concentration of pathogens are high, such water may also not fit for swimming and fishing purposes. Certain shellfish can be toxic because they concentrate pathogenic organisms in their tissue, making the toxicity levels in the shellfish much greater than the levels in the surrounding water. • Suspended Solids: Organic and inorganic particles that are carried by the wastewater into a receiving water is termed suspended solids. When the speed of water is reduced by flowing into a lake or reservoir, many of these particles settles to the bottom as sediments. Similarly when eroded soil particles are being carried by water and are not settled are sediments. Colloidal particles when do not settle easily caused turbidity. Organic suspended solids may also exert DO. When sediments are deposited in lakes and reservoirs their usefulness is reduced. In some rapidly moving mountain streams, sediment from mining and logging operations has destroyed many living places for aquatic organisms. • Salts and other Dissolved solids: Water naturally accumulates a variety of dissolved solids and salts as it passes through soils and rocks on its way to sea. The salts includes cations such as Sodium, Calcium, Magnesium, and potassium while the common anions are Chloride, Sulfate and bicarbonate.
  • 5. Water Pollutants The presence of these dissolved cations and anions are termed as total dissolved solids (TDS). Fresh water usually have less than 1500 mg/l TDS. Brackish water have up to 5000 mg/l, saline water above 5000 mg/l and sea water more than 30,000 mg/l. The concentration of TDS is an indicator of the usefulness of water for various applications. Like drinking water upper limit is 500 mg/l, livestock upto 10,000 mg/l. For crop production more than 500mg/l is a problem for salt tolerance crops, while more than 2100 mg/l need proper drainage system. All naturally occurring water has some amount of salt in it. A number of industries discharge high concentration of salts and urban runoff may contain large amounts where salts is used to keep ice from forming on roads in winter season. Similarly, the evapotranspiration increases salinity problem. The concentration in soils is usually controlled by flushing the salts with additional amount of irrigation water. This process increase the cost as well as contaminate water. If proper drainage is not available, then water table raises up along with dissolved salt and damage crops. Toxic Metal and Organic Compounds: Most metals are toxic, like aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, mercury Lead, iron and zinc. Some of these metals like chromium and iron are essential nutrients in out diet, but in high doses they can cause a range of adverse impacts on the body, including nerves system and kidney damage etc. Metals are non degradable and creates problems for human beings if their concentration increases in body. The chemicals that can be used for killing of organisms are insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides and fungicides..The three main group of synthetic organic insecticides are organochlorines also known as chlorinated
  • 6. Water Pollutants hydrocarbons, organophosphates and carbamate. The most widely used organochlorine is DDT (dichlorodiphenyl trichloethane) is widely used to control insects, but are very persistent and soluble. It is very toxic to human beings and caused a number of diseases including cancer. Agricultural runoff often contains such agro-chemicals that has been applied on crops. Industrial wastewater contains either toxic metals or organic compounds if discharged in large quantities, make water unfit for intended purposes. Many toxic Compounds are concentrated in food chain, making fish unsafe for human consumption. Thus even small quantity of toxic compounds in water can be incompatible with the natural ecosystem and human use. Heat: The thermal and nuclear electric power plants requires large amount of cooling water. For example nuclear power plant warms about 150,000 m3/hr of cooling water by 10C0 as it passes through the plant condenser. If that heat is released to a local river or lake, the resulting rise in temperature can adversely affect life in the vicinity of thermal plume. For some fish like trout any increase in temperature is life threatening, while for other warm water is beneficial upto certain extent. Also the sudden change in temperature caused by plant can disturb the local ecology. Similarly the water releases by different industries are much hotter than the receiving waters. In some case hot water increases the metabolic activities of fish, causing more population. The demand of dissolved oxygen increases with the same rate, but the concentration reduces due to more consumption as well as the absorb capacity for DO is less in hot water than cool water. Similarly high temperatures increase the rate of oxygen depletion when oxygen demanding wastes are presents.
  • 7. Water Pollutants hydrocarbons, organophosphates and carbamate. The most widely used organochlorine is DDT (dichlorodiphenyl trichloethane) is widely used to control insects, but are very persistent and soluble. It is very toxic to human beings and caused a number of diseases including cancer. Agricultural runoff often contains such agro-chemicals that has been applied on crops. Industrial wastewater contains either toxic metals or organic compounds if discharged in large quantities, make water unfit for intended purposes. Many toxic Compounds are concentrated in food chain, making fish unsafe for human consumption. Thus even small quantity of toxic compounds in water can be incompatible with the natural ecosystem and human use. Heat: The thermal and nuclear electric power plants requires large amount of cooling water. For example nuclear power plant warms about 150,000 m3/hr of cooling water by 10C0 as it passes through the plant condenser. If that heat is released to a local river or lake, the resulting rise in temperature can adversely affect life in the vicinity of thermal plume. For some fish like trout any increase in temperature is life threatening, while for other warm water is beneficial upto certain extent. Also the sudden change in temperature caused by plant can disturb the local ecology. Similarly the water releases by different industries are much hotter than the receiving waters. In some case hot water increases the metabolic activities of fish, causing more population. The demand of dissolved oxygen increases with the same rate, but the concentration reduces due to more consumption as well as the absorb capacity for DO is less in hot water than cool water. Similarly high temperatures increase the rate of oxygen depletion when oxygen demanding wastes are presents.