The Peconic Estuary Program runs and funds research, monitoring, mitigation, and public outreach programs that protect the estuary. Commercial and residential growth have combined to produce an abundance of pollutants that often flow unchecked into lakes, rivers, and bays. See below for the primary environmental issues of our region. The Clean Water Act and the creation of the EPA in the s, and federal support for wastewater facilities, has substantially cleaned rivers, lakes, and other water bodies.
The most significant threat to water quality today is not regulated by the Clean Water Act: nonpoint source pollution carried by runoff. Drinking water is treated before consumption, but the most economically efficient and environmentally friendly strategy is to prevent contamination at the source. The warming of the region is causing winters that are both wetter and with more precipitation falling as rain, and hotter summers. These trends exacerbate storm water runoff and its effects. Global warming is causing more-intense storms that pose special challenges to wastewater facilities.
Wastewater systems must run every hour of every day and under adverse conditions. Onsite septic systems can, if not properly designed and maintained, contaminate lakes, rivers, and groundwater. Stormwater can overwhelm wastewater systems, leading to discharges of untreated wastewater.
Wetlands are ecologically unique areas vital to the environmental and economic health of New England and New York State. Wetlands provide habitat essential to our fish and wildlife populations. They are threatened by a changing climate, sea-level rise, and human development. Studying and Protecting Estuaries and Wetlands Wetlands and estuaries are ecologically unique areas that provide habitat essential to our fish and wildlife populations.
Water Pollution Control
September 20, Webinar: Visualizing Data Award-winning data editor and designer Tommy McCall will lead a webinar on using data visualization to communicate scientific information. Categories Community Event. Stream Agenda. October — March Oct — Mar October 3 Thursday. Oct 3 pm — pm Webinar. March 4 Wednesday. Our Programs NEIWPCC is a not-for-profit interstate agency that serves and assists our states by coordinating activities and forums that encourage cooperation, developing resources that foster progress on water and wastewater issues, representing the region in matters of federal policy, training environmental professionals, initiating scientific research projects, educating the public, and providing overall leadership in water management and protection.
Where Do We Serve? Lake Champlain Basin Program The Lake Champlain Basin Program runs and funds research, monitoring, mitigation, and public outreach programs that protect the lake.
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All industrial, environmental, and metabolic processes are water dependent. In living organisms, water plays a number of roles such as solvent, temperature buffer, metabolite, living environment, and lubricants [ 6 ]. Water, however, is said to be polluted when some of the water quality parameters have been hampered by unguided and irregularities from several anthropogenic activities, thus rendering water unfit for intended use. Water pollution may pose serious threat to the environment as well as lives. Pollutant effects may vary depending on their types and source.
For instance, while heavy metals, dyes, and some other organic pollutants have been identified as carcinogens, hormones, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics and personal care product wastes are known as endocrine disruptive chemicals [ 7 ]. These pollutants, which enter into the water body through various channel but predominantly anthropogenic, have become a great concern to environmentalists due to various hazard they pose on the environment. Heavy metals top the list of inorganic pollutant with wide range of negative effects on aquatic organisms, plants, and human.
Heavy metals are released into the environment via different routes such as industries, mining activities, agricultural activities etc.
Bioavailable metals present in the soil may be absorbed by plants resulting in serious plant metabolism dysfunctioning [ 9 ]. High heavy metal ion concentrations are also known to damage the cell membrane, affect enzyme involved in chlorophyll production, thus reducing photosynthetic rate as well as affect plant reproduction via decrease in pollen and seed viability [ 10 ].
Water sanitation hygiene
Humans and animals can be exposed to heavy metal toxicity through the food web, direct consumption of water containing metal or via inhalation [ 11 ]. Heavy metals readily bioaccumulates in vegetables and enters into man and animal through food chain. Effects of heavy metal toxicity on human ranges from mild eye, nose and skin irritations through severe headache, stomach ache, diarrhea, hematemesis, vomiting, dizziness to organ dysfunctioning such as cirrhosis, necrosis, low blood pressure, hypertension, and gastrointestinal distress [ 12 ].
While some heavy metals also called essential elements cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, vanadium, and zinc are required in minute amount in the body for various biochemical processes; others such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury are of serious threat and considered foreign in the body. Looking at specifics, human ingestion of water polluted with arsenic can cause cancer of the lungs, liver, and bladder. Kidney and lungs damage as well as bone fragility may result when cadmium containing water is ingested.
Exposure to lead can severely damage the brain and kidneys. In children, lead exposure even at very low concentration may hamper learning, cause memory loss, affect attention and response functions, and generally make children aggressive [ 13 , 14 ]. In pregnant women, high levels of exposure to lead may cause miscarriage, whereas in men, it can damage the organs responsible for sperm production. Mercury is unique amidst other heavy metals; it has the capacity to travel a wide range of distance, thus have been classified as a global pollutants.
The chemical form of mercury in the environment is also important in analyzing their toxicity. The organic form of mercury, that is, methyl mercury MeHg and dimethyl mercury DMeHg , is known to be more toxic than inorganic mercury [ 15 , 16 ]. While inhaled mercury goes into the blood stream, their elimination from the body is either through the urine or faeces. Mercury has the ability to exist in the urine for about 2 months, hence their renal dysfunctioning characteristic [ 16 ]. Exposure of crustaceans to heavy metals may also result in loss of appetite for food and subsequently body weight loss.
Continuous exposure may reduce reproduction in adults as well as hamper the growth larvae [ 17 ]. Organic pollutants are very wide in variety with a huge range of toxicity.
City of Derby, ConnecticutWater Pollution Control Authority
Among the list of organic pollutants that has been of great threat to aquatic organisms, plants, and humans are dyes, plant and animal pharmaceuticals, personal care products wastes as well as petroleum organic pollutants. A group of chemicals referred to as endocrine disruptive chemicals EDCs also belongs to the organic pollutants group, which are classed as emerging contaminants.
EDCs are described as external agents that interfere with hormonal activities, thus affecting the normal homeostatic reproduction, development or behavior [ 18 ].
Dyes are water soluble giant chemical that is greatly used in many industries viz; textile, leather and tanning, food, paper, etc. They impede sunlight penetration into water bodies and reduce dissolved oxygen, thus leading to death of photosynthetic organism and other lives within the aquatic environment [ 1 ]. Humans may be exposed to dye toxicity via consumption of vegetables and fish which bioaccumulate dyes. The use of colored paper towels used in drying hands and in food preparation is another route of exposure to human [ 19 ].
Dyes are considered as carcinogenic and mutagenic, thus their removal from wastewater before disposal is ultimately important. Human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, which are members of EDCs, are chemicals used as curative or preventive of various diseases. Veterinary pharmaceutical may also serve the purpose of increasing efficiency of food production. Pharmaceuticals are used widely and unavoidably, thus they enter into the environment through one of these routes indiscriminate disposal of hospital and household waste, landfill leaching, drainage water and sewage.
The presence of pharmaceuticals in water is known to pose both acute and chronic toxicity on aquatic organisms [ 21 , 22 ].
Inflow & Infiltration
EDCs as their name implies causes abnormal endocrine activities and increase cancer risk in human. Their effects on aquatic lives may range from endocrine system disruption through the reduction in eggs and sperm cells production to feminization of female aquatics [ 23 — 25 ]. Water is one important part of our day to day activities and their preservation can never be overemphasized.
Three quarter of the fluid in man is made of water and it forms the essential medium in which the biochemical reactions take place in human body. Water moves blood from one place to the other in the body and helps in digestion; electrically charged ions, which generate nerve signals that make the human brain possible, are also held and transported by water.
Water is a good solvent and it is usually referred to as universal solvent; all the major components in cells, that is, protein, deoxyribonucleic acid DNA and polysaccharides are all soluble in water.