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Non-point Source Pollution

Non-point Source Pollution

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Non-point Source Pollution

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  1. Non-point Source Pollution Kathleen A. Garland garland@uhcl.edu 281-283-3249 EIH Envirothon Teacher Workshop February 18, 2012

  2. What’s a point source?

  3. Industrial or municipal discharge

  4. End-of-pipe • The key concepts for understanding point source pollution • Channelized flow • It has a distinct source • You can identify that source • You can control that source

  5. Non-point source pollution • No specific source location Acid mine drainage

  6. A map of eastern streams impacted by coal mine drainage

  7. Agricultural runoff

  8. During storms

  9. Runoff from livestock

  10. Concentrated animal feeding operations

  11. Urban stormwater runoff

  12. Characteristics of Non-point source • Sheet flow • No identified point where all discharge takes place • Source generally cannot be directly controlled

  13. What’s in the water? • Debris

  14. Sediment in stormwater

  15. Chemicals of concern: Metals

  16. COC’s: oils and greases

  17. Thermal pollution

  18. Nutrients

  19. What are nutrients? • Things that make plants grow… • Nitrogen • Phosphorus • Potassium • Algae is a plant (sort of, a Protist, actually, but close to a plant…it photosythesizes) • Nutrients make algae grow—or overgrow!

  20. Not all algal blooms are green…

  21. Why is too much algae a bad thing?

  22. Eutrophication • Nutrients feed algae • Algae bloom, creating large amounts of biomass • Algae die, sinking to the bottom of the water body • Algae decay, using up the oxygen in the lower layer of the water • Benthic (bottom-dwelling) organisms cannot survive • Fish eat benthics, so they either move away, or they die, too

  23. Eutrophication leads to Hypoxia • Hypoxia: the condition of extremely low levels of oxygen in the water • In the Gulf of Mexico, we call the hypoxic zone— The Dead Zone

  24. How does the Dead Zone Form?

  25. Hypoxic zone in the GOM

  26. Source area for GOM Hypoxic Zone

  27. Global hypoxic zones

  28. Impacts of hypoxia • Fisheries • Affects fish stocks • Affects nursery areas for future fish stocks • Water quality • Recreational • Fishing and boating • Shellfish • Coral reefs

  29. Recent example: TPWD • http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/water/environconcerns/hab/redtide/status.phtml

  30. Coral reefs in the northern GOM

  31. Corals in FGBNMS

  32. Invasive species

  33. Who regulates non-point source pollution? • EPA: Section 319 of the Clean Water Act • http://www.epa.gov/owow_keep/NPS/cwact.html • For freshwater systems • Requires states to implement plan • Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments (CZARA) Section 6217 • http://www.epa.gov/owow_keep/NPS/czara.html • Specifically relates to coastal areas—like us!

  34. Why should we care? • Galveston Bay is an estuary—a drowned river basin • The most productive aquatic habitats on the planet • Wetlands and marshes • Seabirds, turtles, shellfish, and ocean fish • Extremely vulnerable to pollution from NPS • Needs freshwater inflows to survive • Downstream from two massive urban areas: DFW and Houston • Industrial pollution • Urban runoff • Agricultural runoff • If those inflows are nutrient loaded, the Bay suffers

  35. Chesapeake Bay • A very badly damaged estuary

  36. We don’t want to get that way! • What can we do to reduce NPS? • Stay tuned! Dr. John Jacob, of Texas Coastal Watersheds will be speaking at 1:30 on exactly this topic!