Water Quality and Clean Air Act (CAA) Assignment

1100 words | 4 page(s)

1) Calculate how many liters (and gallons) of water are wasted in 1 month by a toilet that leaks 2 drops of water per second. (a liter of water equals about 3,500 drops, or 0.265 gallons)

24 hours /day. 60 minutes/hour=1,440 minutes/day. 60 seconds/minutes=86,400 seconds/day. 2 drops/second=172,800 drops/day. In an average month of 30.4days (365days/12months), 5,253,120 drops would fall from this toilet this toilet and waste about 106,400 liters (about 28,108 gallons).

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2) If you were a regulator charged with drawing up plans for controlling pollution, briefly describe one idea for controlling pollution from each of the following sources:

The first step to controlling effluent discharge would be to use regulation to explicitly determine what is and isn’t allowed in the water once it exits the pipe. Rather than getting into the details of telling the factory owners what specific steps to take, telling them the expected end result seems easier. This would require regular monitoring to ensure the wastewater is within allowable parameters as well as penalties strong enough to ensure that the factory has incentive to comply rather than just paying token fines. This could start with fines and scale up to revoking of licenses.

A physical barrier at the edge of the lot would be a good first step to keep large debris out of the stream and to help direct storm water overflow from the lot itself. A combination of natural berm, landscaping, and limited man-made fencing would be ideal. The parking lot itself should be designed to direct drainage into dedicated holding tanks or ponds that could then be treated.

Regulating the kinds of allowable fertilizers and pesticides and other chemicals used in farming would be a good start, along with regular monitoring to ensure compliance. Incentives could be enacted to encourage the farmer to use more natural/organic methods as well. A raised and landscaped berm using natural, local, vegetation could also prevent runoff of both water and potentially clogging soil into the stream as well.

3) In your community Green Bay WI (requires APA citation of source information)
What are the principal nonpoint sources of contamination of surface water and groundwater?
What is the source of drinking water?
How is drinking water treated?
What problems related to drinking water, if any, have arisen in your community? What actions, if any, has your local government taken to solve such problems?
Is groundwater contamination a problem? If so, where? And what has been done about the problem?

Nonpoint sources of groundwater contamination in the area include all-encompassing urban runoff and sewage seepage from aging sewer systems underneath cities. Nutrient runoff from landfills and livestock areas outside city areas are also primary sources of groundwater contaminant. Surface water is even more susceptible to these same sources as well as other airborne atmospheric sources (Gotkowtiz & Liebl, 2013).

Green Bay’s primary source of drinking water is Lake Michigan, with is sometimes supplemented by a small percent (1%) of groundwater from local wells. The drinking water is treated at a public filtration facility. Cryptosporidium (Crypto) is a concern with lake water, but the city also operates an ozonation facility to help and no Crypto has been found in the drinking water (Green Bay Water Utility, 2015).

Capacity in peak season has been an issue and Green Bay briefly tested an aquifer storage and recovery well system to address seasonal peaks by storing surface water in aquifer wells, but the stored water ended up with unacceptably high levels of arsenic and other contaminants and the project was halted in favor connecting pipelines to other utility districts to facilitate water purchases (Wisconsin Groundwater Coordinating Council, 2014). Lead pipes were discontinued in 1944, but many of Green Bay’s older neighborhoods still have them. The city is directly notifying affected residents and providing information about reducing lead exposure as they work to replace the old pipes (Rodewald, 2016)

Green Bay relies almost entirely on surface water, but there are growing concerns statewide over groundwater. In the past, groundwater was able to be used without the same amount of filtering as surface water, but groundwater contamination is a growing concern, especially as man and industry spread. Most groundwater is still relatively safe, but increasing amounts of contaminants are being discovered. Municipal systems that supply groundwater are not required to disinfect the water, but most do; of 612 total systems in the state (both ground and surface water) only 60 do not disinfect (Gotkowtiz & Liebl).

4) List three important ways in which your life would be different today if grassroots actions by U.S. citizens between 1970 and 1990 had not led to the clean Air Acts of 1970, 1977, and 1990, despite massive political opposition by the affected industries. List three important ways in which your life in the future might be different if grassroots actions now do not lead to strengthening of the U.S. Clean Air Act or a similar act in the country where you live.
Acid rain was a key target of the CAA and efforts to combat it as well as awareness about protection means that we are still able to appreciate artwork and architecture outside. News and social media have been awash with images from China in the wake of recent air quality warnings. The Clean Air Acts helped make it so we don’t have to wear masks just to go outside here in the U.S. Stricter regulation on vehicle emission has also spurred innovation in the auto sector. Without that, we may not be seeing so many innovations in hybrid and alternate fuel vehicles.

These things are not guaranteed to last and if the CAA is not strengthened and protected, we may still need to wear protective gear to go outside in the future due to polluted air. Air pollutants is also a large contributor to water contamination so if the CAA and related environmental protections are not strengthened, more cities in the U.S. will face water crises like Flint. Acid rain is still a problem and if we do not continue to combat it, not only will we face increased health problems, we will also face a much drearier life as nature and manmade art and architecture are damaged or even destroyed.

  • Gotkowtiz, M & Liebl, D. (2013). Municipal drinking water safety: The link between groundwater, pathogens, and public health. Retrieved from http://www4.uwm.edu
  • Green Bay Water Ultility. (2015). 2015 annual drinking quality report. Retrieved from http://gbwater.org
  • Rodewald, , A. (2016, March 16). 1,700 Green Bay homes may have lead in water. Green Bay Press-
    Gazette. Retrieved from http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/local/2016/03/11/1700-green-bay-homes-may-have-lead-water/81314316/
  • Wisconsin Groundwater Coordinating Council. (2014). Report to the legislature: Aquifer storage and recovery. Retrieved from http://dnr.wi.gov

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