The majority of the Earth's water, specifically 99% of it, makes up oceans, ice caps and
glaciers, so only 1% is left for humans to use (What is Surface, 2001). Although we have a limited water supply, this does not stop us from wasting water or contaminating it. It's important to keep the quality of groundwater, because as the above statistic shows, it's essential to conserve what little we have. The assessment of the Mahoning County's water, specifically the contamination of groundwater by E. Coli bacteria, shows that prevention of this type of contamination is essential for the well being of humans and the planet.
[...] Algae and bacteria affect the biology of water, so contamination by E. coli can be detected when the water's biology changes (What is Water, 2001). A recent survey by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that water quality is high on the priority list among the New South Whales (NSW) community in Australia (What is Water, 2001). Water quality is a concern since poor quality can cause serious health problems. Communities use water for various purposes, and the EPA has listed some of them (Mahoning County, 2007): Supplying drinking water; Recreation (swimming, boating); Irrigating crops and watering stock; Industrial processes; Navigation and shipping; Production of edible fish, shellfish and crustaceans; Protection of aquatic ecosystems; Wildlife habitats; and Scientific study and education. [...]
[...] COLI CONTAMINATION IN MAHONING COUNTY As stated earlier, the contamination by E. coli is decreasing. More steps are being taken to protect the water supply and restore its quality. However, coliform enters the system in many ways, including CSOs (Combined Sewer Overflow), SSOs (Sanitary Sewer Overflow), permitted discharge, unsewered areas and stormwater runoff” (United States, 2004), so contamination can occur easily if the water is not monitored closely or maintained properly. It is important to note that the biological communities in the river have improved since 1994, which shows that the Mahoning River's quality is better and has the ability to be pure again (United States, 2001). [...]
[...] Figure 1 Source: U.S.G.S, Microbial Quality of the Nation's Ground-Water Resources Figure 2 Source: U.S.G.S, Microbial Quality of the Nation's Ground-Water Resources Figure 3 Groundwater flow direction Source: U.S.G.S, Microbial Quality of the Nation's Ground-Water Resources Figure 4 Source: U.S.G.S., Valley and Ridge aquifers Figure 5 Source: John Stamm et al., Water Resources of Mahoning County Figure 6 Source: United States. Mahoning River Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Fecal Coliform Bacteria Figure 7 Source: Eastgate, Mahoning River Corridor Steel Mill Inventory Map Figure 8 Legend: NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) CSO (Combined Sewer Overflow) POTW (Publicly Owned Treatment Works) BMP (Best Management Practice) NPS (National Park Service) TMDL/WLA (Total Maximum Daily Load/Waste Load Allocation) RT&E (Rare, Threatened and Endangered) Source: United States, Biological and Water Quality Study of the Mahoning River and Yellow Creek Figure 9A These water samples (tap water taken from Paris, London, and Tokyo) show that due to water treatment methods, it's difficult for the water to form crystals. [...]
[...] Nationwide the amount of coliform bacteria in this watershed is increasing; however, there is a decreasing trend in fecal coliform for the Mahoning River even though it continually exceeds the 2,000/100 mL criterion (The Mahoning River, 2007). Figure 6 shows this trend with data from May to October taken from the Mahoning River at Lowellville. Since May 2003 the District Board of Health has found that one in five wells show evidence of sewage pollution (Setty, 2003). From May, June and July wells were tested and 8 were contaminated with E. [...]
[...] EPA's scatter plot of fecal coliform data for the Mahoning River at Lowellville from May to October Figure Map showing the steel mills located along the Mahoning River in 1988. Figure Hierarchy of actions that need to occur in order for a positive environmental change can take place. Figure 9A: Tap water from Paris, London and Tokyo that has failed to form water crystals due to water treatment processes. Figure 9B: Tap water from Washington, D.C. and New York that has formed complete crystals, which may be the result of using cedar tanks to protect the water. [...]
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