Eutrophication

While phosphates (PO2~) are the primary source of eutrophication, nitrogenous wastes contribute significantly to this water pollution problem. Eutrophication refers to the discharge of plant nutrients, primarily phosphorus and nitrogen, in undesired quantities to bodies of freshwater, such as lakes and ponds. The presence of undesired quantities of plant nutrients stimulates the rapid growth or blooms of

Figure 1.2 Oxygen used during decomposition of dead plants. As large blooms of aquatic plants die in the water, a large diversity of bacteria and fungi quickly remove large quantities of dissolved oxygen and decompose the plant tissue into carbon dioxide, water, ammonium ions, phosphate ions, and sulfate ions. The bacteria and fungi transform some of the organic material from the plant tissue into new bacterial and fungal cells.

Figure 1.2 Oxygen used during decomposition of dead plants. As large blooms of aquatic plants die in the water, a large diversity of bacteria and fungi quickly remove large quantities of dissolved oxygen and decompose the plant tissue into carbon dioxide, water, ammonium ions, phosphate ions, and sulfate ions. The bacteria and fungi transform some of the organic material from the plant tissue into new bacterial and fungal cells.

Percent Ammonia Percent Ammonium Ion

Percent Ammonia Percent Ammonium Ion

7 8 9 10 11

Figure 1.3 pH and the conversion of ammonia and ammonium ions. The relative quantities of ammonia and ammonium ions in water are determined by the pH of the water. As the pH of the water decreases, ammonium ions are favored. As the pH of the water increases, ammonia is favored. At a pH value of 9.4 or higher, ammonia is strongly favored.

aquatic plants, including algae. When these plants die, the bodies of freshwater rapidly fill with those parts of the plants that do not decompose. Eutrophication results in the rapid ''aging'' of the bodies of freshwater as they are lost quickly over time due to the accumulation of parts of plants that do not decompose.

Eutrophication also results in additional water pollution problems. These problems include fluctuations in dissolved oxygen concentration with the growth and death of aquatic plants, the clogging of receiving water caused by the sudden bloom of aquatic plants, and the production of color, odor, taste, and turbidity problems associated with the growth and death of aquatic plants.

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