Improper Disposal of Hazardous Waste

(See Chapter 12, “Solid Waste, Hazardous Materials, and Hazardous Waste Management”)

Improperly Constructed or Maintained Wells

(See Chapter 13, “Water Systems (Drinking Water Quality)”)

Invasive Species

(See endnotes 22, 23)

Non-indigenous invasive species is a huge topic which is beyond the scope of this book. However, a brief description of the problem follows. The invasion of non-indigenous invasive species of marine life and plants is one of the most challenging environmental issues. They disturb the balance of the natural ecosystems and may cause significant economic impacts, and in fact affect the health and safety of people by disrupting food sources, fiber sources, and drinking water supplies. The single largest source of the unintentional introduction of these organisms into many areas including the Great Lakes basin is through maritime commerce. These organisms attach themselves to the hulls of ships and are also found in ballast tanks in the water that had been taken on in other locations. Several factors facilitate the spread of aquatic invasive species including: moving of boats and ships from one waterway to another; clear cutting of forests; various practices that increase sedimentation and therefore water turbidity; pollution from various industries; many of the contaminants mentioned in other parts of this chapter; and over-fishing. As an example of an invasive species, the zebra mussel may cause severe problems at power plants and municipal water supplies by clogging intake screens, pipes, and cooling systems.

Best Practices for Invasive Species (This will be limited because of the nature of the topic.)

Best Practices include but are not limited to:

  • • An educational program to teach people to wash their boats when moving them from one waterway to another
  • • A ballast water regulation introduced and enforced by the United States Coast Guard requiring ships to exchange their ballast water or seal their ballast tanks while in a given waterway
  • • Dredging of contaminated sediments from harbors and other areas Land Development and Building Construction

Development and construction disrupt the natural habitat and may cause a substantial impact on the water quality of surface and groundwater supplies. Stormwater runoff from construction sites has a significant impact on bodies of water, especially through the depositing of sediments and construction waste into the water. The runoff of sediment from construction sites is typically 10-20 times greater than those from agricultural lands and 1000-2000 times greater than from forest lands. The prevention of the erosion of soil is of primary importance. Postconstruction stormwater management is also of great significance. In the last 20 years, the rate of land development has been more than twice as great as the rate of population growth.

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