Water and Waste
Water is an abundant resource on the
planet. Although 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, less
than 1% is potable—fresh water that people can drink and water crops
with. The rest is unusable with about 97% of it in the oceans, which are
too salty for these purposes.
The average American uses about 100
gallons of water per day, depending on how you calculate water usage.
The majority of that water usage takes place in the bathroom to flush
toilets and to take showers and baths. In the United States you can just
turn the faucet on when you need water, but others in many parts of the
world are not so fortunate. Have you ever thought about where all of
that water comes from or where it goes after it leaves your house? How
do communities ensure that the water supply is safe? How do you ensure
that the water you send down the drain does not harm the environment?
Review how wastewater is treated (the water that you send down the drain):
Additionally, review some information on drinking water:
Recently, researchers have started to
look at the impact that common pharmaceutical and personal care products
have on the water supply. Read up on what this means to you and the
In your posts this unit answer the following questions:
- You have
all heard that you should conserve water but this may seem odd depending
on where you live. In an arid place like the southwestern United States
it seems logical to conserve water, but in the Great Lakes region where
water appears to be abundant, people are also encouraged to save water.
Why are even those with an excess of annual rainfall being encouraged
to conserve water?
- Currently drinking and wastewater treatment facilities do not treat for pharmaceutical or personal care product pollutants. Why?
- How should
we, as a country, handle pharmaceutical or personal care product
pollutants? Should they be handled through new treatments or through
prevention? Explain your answer.
your local community, town, city, or state government’s website for
information and policies on water conservation and wastewater treatment.
Post one interesting point that you learned in your research. Be sure
to provide the resource for the information with your post.
- Later in
the unit, compare your local government’s water policy information to
one described by one of your classmates. Are there any similarities? Are
there any differences?
WORK MUST BE ORIGINAL WITH NO PLAIGIRISM