ENR 2100 (ONLINE VERSION) Intro to Environmental Science: Final Exam Study Guide
Earth’s Freshwater Resources
● a. Know about the connection between the Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada, freshwater resources
and the Keystone Pipeline and the Ogallala Aquifer
○ The Keystone pipeline transports synthetic crude oil and diluted bitumen from the
Athabasca Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Illinois and Oklahoma, and on to
the Gulf Coast. Ogallala Aquifer important to eight states.
○ If pipeline leaks, aquifer will be contaminated
● b. Understand what hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking) is and where it is occurring in the USA
and Ohio. Also, know about fracking wastewater injection wells, natural gas, methane and oil.
○ Drill through underground aquifers to reach energy resources; can release compounds
that are deep underground, such as uranium, to the surface
○ In Ohio: Eastern half, large portions of shale basins that bear natural gas ; can be used for
domestic energy production
○ Garfield County, Colorado
● c. What’s the Waterkeeper Alliance and who is Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.?
○ Mission: to provide a way for communities to stand up for their right to clear water and
for the wise and equitable use of water resources. Movement is for fishable, swimmable,
and drinkable waterways worldwide. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is the founder
● d. Where is Earth’s freshwater located (e.g., glaciers, groundwater, surface water), what is it used
for and how much (e.g., agriculture, industry and cities).
○ 2.5% of water is freshwater
○ Of that 2.5%, 60% is trapped in glaciers, 10% found in surface waters, including lakes and
rivers, and 30% is found in groundwater, but some of that is deep and out of reach
○ 93,000 km^3 of freshwater that humans have access to
○ 70% is used for agriculture
○ 22% used for industrial processes
○ 8% is pumped into cities and homes for drinking, washing, etc
● e. Where did Earth’s water most likely originate? How much is salt water, how much is freshwater,
how much freshwater is accessible to humans?
○ 98% of water on Earth is saltwater, 2.5% is freshwater
○ Freshwater: 68.7% in glaciers, 1% in permafrost, 30% in groundwater
● f. How much water do you use each day at home? g. How much water does it take to grow the
food you eat each day? How much water does it take to grow 1-pound of beef or chicken or pork
or other types of fruits and vegetables? p. How much water is used to grow the plants we use for
food and clothes?
○ Pair of jeans: 3000 gallons, tshirt: 750 gallons
○ 25 gallons for 10-minute shower, 70 gallons for bathtub, 20 gallons/day for toilet, 20-40
gallons for washers, 4 gallons for Energystar dishwasher, pool=20,000 water, recycling 1
newspaper saves 3.5 gallons of water, 1 gallon of gasoline takes 15 gallons of water to
○ It takes approx 1000 gallons/day to produce average American’s diet
○ 1 cup of coffee=55 gallons of water to make, 1 quarter pounder cheeseburger: 650
gallons of water to make, 1 sheet of paper: 2.5 gallons, 1 tshirt: 700 gallons, 1 chocolate
bar: 300 gallons
○ 1 pound of beef- 1800 gallons
○ 1 pound of pork-576 gallons ○ 1 pound of chicken-468 gallons
○ 1 pound of wheat-1322 gallons
● h. What types of meat do most humans eat? How much do we consume each year?
○ 300 million cows, 400 mil goats, 633 mil turkeys, rabbits, 1.3 billion pigs, 2.6 billion ducks,
52 billion chicken
● i. What is your global water footprint? → 1513
● j. What are human’s staple foods, what meats do we rely on for protein?
● k. How much livestock waste is generated each year to grow the meat we eat? How much energy
is required to grow 100 calories of meat versus 100 calories of vegetables?
● l. Today, why is agriculture pollution largely regarded as public enemy #1 in the USA? What
causes the algae blooms in Lake Erie?
● m. Do all humans have access to clean safe freshwater?
○ In US, 91-100% have access to safe water
○ In Africa, ~50% has access to safe water
○ ~1 billion people to not have access to freshwater resources
● n. Know the water cycle, condensation, precipitation, groundwater, and infiltration.
○ Evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation, groundwater
● o. Where is the Yellow River and what is its significance in terms of providing freshwater to
○ Yellow (Huang) River is in China
○ Provides drinking and irrigation water to people living near it
● q. Where is the Colorado River, what is its significance, what is the water used for, know about
the Hoover Dam and salinization.
○ Colorado River provides water for 25 million people, including cities of Denver, Las Vegas,
Salt Lake City, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
○ Supplies irrigation water for 3.5 million acres of fruit, vegetables, and field crops worth
○ Has 49 dams, 11 of which provide hydroelectric power
○ The Hoover Dam
○ 1,500 miles long, forms in Rocky Mountain, flows into Gulf near Southern California
○ Salinization→ increased salt concentration lowers soil productivity, and in extreme cases,
renders soil unfit
● r. What is a confined aquifer, unconfined aquifer, saltwater intrusion, well, water table?
○ Water table: top of groundwater
○ Unconfined aquifer: has access to surface above it
○ Confined aquifer: doesn’t have access to surface above it
○ Saltwater intrusion: ocean water meets underground aquifers
○ Well: digging deep underground to have access to water
● s. How does a wastewater treatment facility work, what is primary, secondary and tertiary
○ Primary: Sedimentation tanks holds water for several hours so solids can settle to the
bottom, grease and oil rises to top, surface skimmers remove theses
○ Secondary: biological conversion, transform dissolved solids into suspended solids;
microorganisms eat solids and transforms them
■ Activated sludge process: combine wastewater and microorganisms, add
oxygen, multiplies organisms, put into secondary sedimentation tanks, allowed to
settle to bottom, removed
■ Chemical process: add chlorine to water to kill organisms that carry disease ● Dechlorination
○ Primary: removes suspended and floating particles by mechanical processes
○ Secondary: reduces the water’s biochemical oxygen demand by using microorganisms to
decompose suspended organic material
○ Tertiary: advanced wastewater treatment methods that are sometimes employed to
reduce a phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations using a variety of chemical, biological,
and physical processes
○ t. What are some of the chemicals in our drinking water that wastewater treatment
facilities do NOT remove from our drinking water?
■ Phosphorus and nitrogen (in some plants)
■ Not removing pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals
● u. How does sewage treatment work in Arcata, California?
○ Mimics nature to effectively purify water
○ Removes big suspended solids
○ Uses wetland that has natural organisms to remove chemicals from water; much cheaper
Lecture 9 3/6/17 Protecting Earth’s Freshwater
● a. What are some of water’s properties that make it so useful for life, what is water.org?
○ Water molecules are polar; one end (hydrogen) is positively charged and the other end
(oxygen) is negatively charged
○ Water forms a fluid between 0 and 100 degrees C, universal solvent
○ water.org→ works to provide fresh water for less developed countries
● b. What is water pollution, point source pollution and nonpoint source pollution, runoff pollution?
What are some pollutants found in our freshwater resources?
○ Water pollution→ anything that can degrade the quality of water
■ Potential pollutants: industrial chemicals, raw sewage, garbage, oil, pesticides,
personal care products, etc, etc
● c. Know about hypoxia, biological oxygen demand, and sediment pollution.
● d. Know the three zones of a freshwater lake, littoral, limnetic and profundal and their
○ Littoral: shallow water near shore, where sunlight penetrates to permit photosynthesis
○ Limnetic: open water as far down as sunlight penetrates to permit photosynthesis
○ Profundal: deep water where sunlight does not penetrate; bacteria and decomposers
● e. Where is Crater Lake and what type of lake is it?
○ Crater Lake, Oregon; example of oligotrophic lake; very little nutrients; very clear
● f. Where is Grand Lake St. Mary’s and what type of lake is it?
○ Grand Lake St. Marys, Ohio; example of Eutrophic Lake; many farmlands/development
around lake, very shallow, nutrient-rich, lots of algae
● g. Know the differences between oligotrophic, mesotrophic and eutrophic lake.
○ Oligotrophic Lake: low nutrients, cold deep water, high dissolved oxygen
○ Mesotrophic Lake: some nutrients, some phosphorus/nitrogen, somewhat deep water,
some dissolved oxygen
○ Eutrophic Lake: high nitrates, high phosphates, warm shallow water, holds less oxygen
● h. What do a healthy versus unhealthy Chesapeake Bay look like? Know about algae blooms,
biological oxygen demand (BOD), dissolved oxygen, sunlight and photosynthesis.
○ Healthy bay→ low nutrient levels, algae kept in check, good dissolved oxygen levels,
abundant fish and shellfish; clear water with good sunlight penetration ○ Unhealthy bay→ high algae and bacterial growth, low dissolved oxygen, loss of some
aquatic life, less sunlight can penetrate→ algae blooms, high BOD (less oxygen); lots of
● i. Where is Bristol Bay, what is the Pebble Mine and how will it affect the fishing industry,
○ West coast of Alaska
○ Bay→ largest wild sockeye salmon fishery; ecological and economic driver for area;
people depend on it for livelihood
○ Mine is prospected to have many minerals
○ Argument is waste from mine could pollute water, kill salmon
○ Pebble Mine→ waste produced from mine toxic to salmon in bay
■ Would provide jobs for many people in area, but could be harmful to fish,
ecosystem, fishing industry, Native Americans, water quality
● j. Know about algae blooms and excess nitrogen and phosphorus.
○ Natural Algae bloom caused by single-celled photosynthetic phytoplankton
● k. What dissolved oxygen concentrations do fish prefer to live in? → HIGH dissolved oxygen
○ (parts per million) less than 3 → too low for fish populations; 3-5→ 24 hour range of
tolerance/stressful conditions; 6→ supports spawning; 7→ supports growth/activity;
above 9→ supports abundant fish populations
● l. What is a watershed?
● m. What are the leading causes of water pollution in the USA today?
○ Pathogens, metals (excluding mercury); nutrients; hypoxia (don’t have enough oxygen in
water for fish/organisms); PCBS, sediments, mercury, pH problems, pesticides (FROM
HIGH TO LOW)
● n. Provide examples of point source pollution and nonpoint source pollution. Which one does the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulate using the U.S. Clean Water Act?
○ Point source→ ex: wastewater treatment plants; easy to identify and eliminate
■ Some industrial and agricultural sources discharge pollutants directly into a body
■ Amazon river basin
○ Nonpoint source→ pollution enters waterway from overland flow; difficult to source and
even more difficult to stop
■ A variety of sources contribute pollutants that can run off the surface of the land
during rainfall and enter the water; air pollutants can fall directly with the rain
○ Clean Water Act: regulate point & nonpoint source pollution; job of EPA
● o. What are some examples of nonpoint source runoff pollution in urban, mining, forestry and
○ Open mines, cropland animal pasture, construction sites, industrial air pollution
● p. What causes the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, what River is involved, what type of damage
does this pollution cause in terms of ecosystem and economy of the Gulf region?
○ Down Mississippi River
○ Dead zone=hypoxic areas, where most organisms are unable to survive
● q. How is Seattle, Washington trying to protect its freshwater resources and the Puget Sound?
● r. How much nitrogen pollution is released by forested, suburban and agricultural land?
○ Agricultural is mostly responsible, then suburban, then forested ● s. How are the Cuyahoga River and the Clean Water Act tied together in history? t. What is the
Clean Water Act, when was it passed, what does it do, who oversees this law? Are most water
resources in the USA safe for people today?
○ The Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio was burning because of the amount of oil and
chemicals in the water. Passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972 established pollution
standards and set in motion establishment of best management practices to reduce
pollution entering the bay.
○ Eliminate the discharge of pollutants in US Waterways.
○ Attain water quality levels that make these waterways safe to fish and swim in.
● u. Know about riparian areas & how they work.
○ Riparian areas need to be restored by planting vegetated buffer zones that slow runoff
and give rainwater time to soak into the ground
○ Natural system with plants with deep roots that suck up nutrients from waterways
● v. How can farms reduce the amount of runoff pollution by having different zones designated for
different types of vegetation and uses?
○ Zone 3→ light agricultural use.
○ Zone 2→ managed forest
○ Zone 1→ undisturbed forest (riparian areas); ideally native species
● w. How can humans protect our water resources in terms of agriculture, watersheds, habitats
○ To reduce nitrogen additions to water from urban and suburban areas, homeowners can
plant indigenous species of grass that require less fertilizer and water. Planting
water-tolerant plants in low areas also helps by reducing runoff.
○ Anything that increases filtration can help avoid stormwater runoff problems
■ Rain barrels, rain gardens, eco-friendly patios
○ Reduce pollution at the source
○ Restore habitats
○ Protect watersheds
○ Manage fisheries
● x. How does the poultry industry contribute to freshwater pollution in the Chesapeake Bay?
○ Too much waste entering bay; causing high nutrient levels, algae blooms
● y. What is a Superfund Site, where are they located, how pays for them, how much do they cost,
know about the Duwamish River and South Park sites in Washington, USA.
○ Superfund is a Federal Program to clean up hazardous waste sites in the US
○ Administered by EPA
● z. Know about coal ash ponds, what contaminates are in these ponds, where are they located,
and how they can cause water pollution.
○ Waste products of coal-combustion
○ Produced by coal-fired power plants
○ Kingston Tennessee
○ Fly ash contains heavy metal toxins: arsenic, cadmium, chromium, mercury, radium,
selenium, thorium, uranium
Protecting Earth’s Atmosphere Week 11 3/28/17
● a. Coriolis Effect, global wind patterns, polar easterlies, westerlies, trade winds.
○ Coriolis effect→ Earth’s rotation from west to east causes wind and water to swerve to
right in N hemi and to left in S. Hemis
○ Trade winds; NE and SW in hemispheres, from subtropical highs to equator. Westerlies→
middle latitudes; easterlies: polar latitudes ● b. Atmospheric circulation and heat exchange.
○ At equator: warm air rises and moves toward poles
○ Air cools and descends at 30 degrees in both hemispheres (subtropical highs, desert
○ At higher latitudes, patterns of movement are more complex
○ Great solar energy input occurs at equator.
● c. Air pollution, primary air pollutant and secondary air pollutant.
○ Air pollution-various chemicals (gases, liquid, or solids) present in the atmosphere in high
enough levels to harm organisms or materials
■ Can come from natural (i.e. forest fire, volcano) or human activities
■ Humans are major source of air pollution
○ Primary air pollutant-enter directly into atmosphere
■ Dust particles, lead, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, carbon
dioxide, chlorine, methane, benzene
○ Secondary air pollutant-form in the atmosphere when primary air pollutants reacts
chemically with other air pollutants or with natural components of the atmosphere
■ Sulfuric acid (acid rain), ozone, nitric acid
● d. The U.S. Clean Air Act, 6 pollutants it focuses on., e. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA). f. Lead (Pb), particulate matter, sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitrogen
oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3).
○ First passed in 1970; updated and amended in 1977 and 1990
○ EPA oversees the act
○ Focused on: Pb, Particulate matter, SO2, NOx, CO, O3
○ Act authorizes the EPA to set limits on amount of these air pollutants
○ States may pass stronger pollution controls, but NEVER mandate weaker limit
○ Atmospheric Pb decreased by 98% from 1970 to 2000
○ SO2 emissions decreased by 45% while US gross domestic product increased by 161%
and energy consumption increased by 42% from 1970 to 2000
○ Amendments of 1990: industrial airborne toxic chemicals; Motor Vehicle Emissions
■ Required a 90% reduction in atmospheric emissions of 189 toxic chemicals
■ Included development of “super-clean” cars, which emit less NOx and less VOCs
■ Included use of cleaner burning gasoline in the most polluted cities in the US
● g. What types of pollution affects different countries around the world?
○ Urban areas of Argentina have high levels of outdoor air pollution caused by unregulated
vehicle emissions (catalytic converters that reduce emissions are not required)
○ Norway has reduced outdoor urban air pollution by using stricter vehicle emissions
○ Russia→ poor air quality, largely because of industry and coal fired power plants
○ Iraq has some of worst air pollution because of its high levels of industrial and vehicle
emissions as well as dust storms; also use of leaded gasoline
○ Ethiopia/Kenya→ burning charcoal and other solid fuels produces high levels of indoor
○ Romania→ high air pollution caused by uncontrolled industrial and vehicle emission
● h. Natural air pollution versus anthropogenic air pollution.
○ Natural: sandstorms, volcanic eruptions, wildfires
○ Anthropogenic: vehicle exhaust, industry emissions, coal fired power plants, indoor
burning of solid fuels (charcoal, wood, animal waste) ● i. Particulate matter, size, PM2.5 and PM10.
○ Tiny airborne particles or droplets; released during combustion of any fuel or activity that
○ Particulate matter: smaller particles have more potential to cause health problems
because they can more easily enter tissue
○ PM 44 micrometers or smaller will stay suspended and can potentially be inhaled
○ PM10 (between 2.5 and 10 micrometer in size) can collect in the respiratory system and
irritate tissue (inhalable)
○ PM2.5 (2.5 in size of smaller) can enter cells and the bloodstream if breathed in
● j. Acid rain, causes, nitric acid, sulfuric acid, how does burning coal lead to acid rain?
○ Ground level ozone and acid rain→ pollutants from burning fossil fuels react with
atmospheric oxygen in presence of sunlight
○ Acid rain refers to a mixture of wet and dry deposition (Deposited material) from the
atmosphere containing higher than normal amounts of nitric and sulfuric acids.
■ Caused by both natural and human sources
■ Primarily emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides resulting from fossil
○ In US, 67% of all SO2 and 25% of all NOx come from electric power generation that relies
on burning fossil fuels like coal. Acid rain occurs when these gases react with water,
oxygen, and other chemicals to form various acidic compounds→ result is a mild
solution of sulfuric acid and nitric acid. Prevailing winds blow these compounds across
state and national borders, sometimes over 100s of miles
○ Measured using pH scale; lower the pH, the more acidic
○ Typical rain: 5.6; acid rain: ~4.3
● k. How does an electric generator work, what is electromagnetic generation and how are copper
and magnets used to generate of electricity?
○ Electrical generator: converts mechanical energy into electrical energy usually by
○ Current is produced when a conductor is moved back and forth by a magnet, the magnet
applies a force of the electrons in the copper causing them to move, as you move the
copper wire back and forth past the magnet you produce an alternating current of
● l. How are scrubbers and limestone used to “clean” coal and lower the emissions that come out
of the smokestack at a coal fired power plant.
○ Scrubbers- desulfurization system that clean the power plant’s exhaust
■ As polluted air passes through a scrubber, chemicals in the scrubber react with
the pollution and cause it to precipitate, or settle out
○ Fluidized-bed combustion: mixes crushed coal with limestone particles to neutralize
acidic compounds produced during combustion
■ Produces fewer NOx and removes sulfur from the coal
■ Also produces more heat per given amount of coal = less CO2
● m. What types of pollutants are in a coal ash waste pond, where do these pollutants come from
and how are they stored?
○ Coal ash waste ponds→ waste products of coal combustion
■ Produced by coal fired power plants
■ Fly ash contains heavy metal toxins: arsenic, cadmium, chromium, mercury,
radium, selenium, thorium, uranium
● n. What is carbon capture and storage and how does it work? ● o. How does coal lead to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?
● p. How is carbon dioxide and methane linked to global climate change?
○ CO2: burning carbon-based fuels such as fossil fuels; forest fires and normal
■ Nontoxic so not health effects at normal levels of exposure; greenhouse gas that
contributes to climate change, affecting ecosystems worldwide
● q. What is a greenhouse gas? How does the Greenhouse Effect work? What are the different
types of greenhouse gases?
● r. Where do sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollutants come from what problems do they
○ SO2→ from burning fuel that contains sulfur, such as coal; industry, volcanoes, dust
■ Respiratory irritant; harms plant tissue and can be converted to sulfuric acid
which damages plants, aquatic creatures, and concrete structures
○ NOx→ from the reaction of nitrogen in fuel or air with oxygen at high temps usually
during combustion of a fuel
■ Vehicles, industry, nitrification by soil and aquatic bacteria
■ Respiratory irritant; can increase susceptibility to infection; can be converted to
nitric acid, which damages plants, aquatic organisms, and even concrete
structures; over fertil