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9.3.4.1. Water pollutants

Water pollutants

Water pollutants can be of several types:

Physical pollutants

  • Increase or decrease in temperature, from industrial activities that use water as a coolant. In reservoirs, the water that comes from the turbines to the river has a lower temperature. If the temperature of the water rises, the amount of dissolved oxygen decreases, which can affect the development of some species.
  • Radioactive particles. From nuclear power plant cooling circuits and radioactive waste.
  • Solid particles in suspension. They can be inorganic (dust, silts, sands, clays, etc.) and organic (animal and vegetable remains).

Chemical pollutants

The chemical pollutants alter the properties of the water. They come from urban and industrial wastewater, landfills, agricultural and livestock activities, etc. Chemical pollutants can be organic, inorganic, and gases. The most common are chlorides, phosphates, sulfates, nitrogenous compounds, heavy metals, pesticides, organic matter, etc.

Biological contaminants

Biological pollutants are decomposing organic matter and pathogenic microorganisms present in water (bacteriavirusesprotozoa and algae), originating from urban wastewater and agricultural activities, which transmit diseases such as typhus, cholera, dysentery, etc.

Depending on the type of pollutant, water pollution can have the following consequences: