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Water What-ifs

Warning Signs of Pollution

Warning Signs of Pollution
Type of Land Use
Warning Signs of Pollution 
Forests
Cloudy or muddy water may be signs of sedimentation from logging, road building or clear cutting trees and vegetation.
Agricultural
Algal blooms are normally associated with the misuse or overuse of fertilizers and manure runoff from pastures, feedlots or compost piles.
Urban
Surface sheen, low pH levels and the absence of pollution intolerant macroinvertebrates may indicate urban runoff such as metals, salts, chemicals and oils.
Industries
Stream discoloration, odors, low pH levels, excessive algal growth and the absence of pollution intolerant macroinvertebrates and fish may indication the deposit of unnatural materials by industry.
Sewage Treatment Plants and Septic Systems
Excessive algal growth is an indication of the release of organic matter. An absence or a decrease in macroinvertebrate levels may indicate high levels of chlorine in the water.
Sanitary Landfills
Rusty streaks and signs of runoff from landfills may be indicated by excessive algal growth and the absence of pollution-intolerant macroinvertebrates.
Construction
Cloudy or muddy water may be signs of sedimentation which may occur around construction sites if proper barrier structures are not in place. 
Residential 
Algal blooms, the absence of aquatic life and a colored sheen on the water may indicate the dumping of automobile oil, poor fertilizing practices and defective septic systems.

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Last Modified: 5/14/01

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