This video segment from a WPSU documentary Liquid Assets focuses on the enormous, though invisible, role, water resources play in the maintenance of public health. Often it is not until a large-scale epidemic strikes, that the importance of safe drinking water is driven home. Our water assets today are under tremendous pressure to provide this crucial service to ever expanding populations. Wastewater treatment is turning out to be an inadequate solution to health issues, because pollution is striking at the source of safe water. This segment brings to light the unseen iceberg that is water pollution.
Maintaining good water quality is an important duty of the civic administration. Water is one of the major carriers of disease, along with air and direct touch. Waterborne infections are very common in regions with poor hygiene and sanitation. But as the Milwaukee incident shows, the threat of waterborne diseases is present everywhere and can become real despite apparent precaution. Waterborne diseases are carried by microorganisms which may be hard to detect in water. In addition, diseases may be caused by contaminants that enter the water from dry weather runoffs and from rainwater. Dry weather runoffs are caused by water from sprinklers, washed cars and other activities that runs down the storm water drains and streets.
Diseases may be caused by contaminated groundwater, water in reservoirs as well as water in recreational areas such as seas and oceans. There are several sources of contamination. These include industrial and agricultural chemicals, solid waste, poisonous gases, and organic waste that encourages the growth of disease-carrying microorganisms. Water was once considered a great solvent that could dissolve every kind of pollutant without significantly affecting its quality. This is the reason that wastewater treatment did not become a norm until relatively recently. However, with burgeoning city populations the kinds and quantities of contaminants are increasing, entering our water assets and penetrating our infrastructure without being a part of wastewater at all. The pollution levels in a water body may rise dangerously after a storm and add to the threat of sickness. This, for instance is a common occurrence on the Doheny Beach in Southern California, which is often declared unsafe after the least bit of rain.
Water pollution is now an inevitable part of urban living and needs to be addressed constantly. The measures we have today are palliative rather than curative. However, we need to enforce them conscientiously in order to maintain an upper hand against the possibility of our water sources turning into carriers of epidemics. History bears out the very real threat modern society is feeling.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.