Nutrient pollution in water eutrophication & hypoxiaNutrient pollution affects water around the world. The impacts of nutrient pollution are found in all types of water bodies. Pollutants often enter upstream waters like creeks and streams and then flow into larger water bodies like lakes, rivers, and bays. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus can also travel thousands of miles to coastal areas where the effects of the pollution are felt in the form of massive dead zones.
Animal manure, excess fertilizer applied to crops and fields, and soil erosion make agriculture one of the largest sources of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution.
When precipitation falls on our cities and towns, it runs across hard surfaces - like rooftops, sidewalks, and roads - and carries pollutants, including nitrogen and phosphorus, into local waterways.
Our sewer and septic systems are responsible for treating large quantities of waste, and these systems do not always operate properly or remove enough nitrogen and phosphorus before discharging into waterways.
Fertilizers, yard and pet waste, and certain soaps and detergents contain nitrogen and phosphorus, and can contribute to nutrient pollution if not properly used or disposed of. The amount of hard surfaces and type of landscaping can also increase the runoff of nitrogen and phosphorus during wet weather.
Health & Effects
Human Health Effects
Nutrient pollution and harmful algal blooms create toxins and compounds that are dangerous for your health. There are several ways that people (and pets) can be exposed to these compounds.
Nitrates in drinking water
Nitrate, a compound found in fertilizer, often contaminates drinking water in agricultural areas. Infants who drink water too high in nitrates can become seriously ill and even die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue-tinted skin, a condition known as blue baby syndrome.
Direct Exposure to Toxic Algae
Drinking water can be a source of exposure to chemicals caused by nutrient pollution. Drinking, accidentally swallowing or swimming in water affected by a harmful algal bloom can cause serious health problems including:
• Stomach or liver illness
• Respiratory problems
• Neurological effects
Byproducts of water treatment
Stormwater runoff carries nutrients directly into rivers, lakes and reservoirs which serve as sources of drinking water for many people. When disinfectants used to treat drinking water react with toxic algae, harmful chemicals called dioxins can be created.
This is where UnifAI Technology takes a major step forward in providing guidance on better managing water quality risks, by the deployment of real-time water quality monitoring solutions, that can provide timely information about water quality by directly processing the data collected from distributed monitoring mechanisms, thereby enabling quick responses to address potential leakages and water pollution incidents.