MONITORING environment USing BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL INDICATORS

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DIVERSITY :

The number of different species in an ecosystem.

Chemical Indicators:

Indicators that assess the quality of water, such things as dissolved nutrients, and dissolved metals.

BIOLOGICAL INDICATORS:

Organisms that indicate the quality of water, this includes fish, plants, worms, insects, plankton (microscopic algae and tiny animals), protozoa, bacteria and viruses.

MICROBIOLOGICAL INDICATORS:

Microscopic organisms like bacteria can cause serious health problems when present in large enough numbers.


pH Affect on Aquatic environments

AQUATIC INVERTEBRATES:

Are animals without backbones that live in water

  • insects

  • crustaceans (shrimp)

  • worms

  • molluscs (clams)

These organisms are used because they indicate different conditions of the water, for example, oxygen levels, temperature and pH.

AQUATIC ENVIRONMENTS

Diversity of organisms decreases as pH increases and dissolved oxygen decreases.

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ph_levels.jpg

MONITORING WATER QUALITY

RHONE RIVER MEETS ARVE RIVER, ARVE IS FED BY GLACIERS, WHILE RHONE IS FED BY A LAKE

RHONE RIVER MEETS ARVE RIVER, ARVE IS FED BY GLACIERS, WHILE RHONE IS FED BY A LAKE

Cloudiness in lakes is caused by increase in algal growth, which reduces the oxygen content of the lake affecting organisms that live there.

Clarity is not a good indicator of water quality because some chemicals and organisms cannot be seen with the naked eye. Also some water is more turbid than others.

Water quality is determined according to the use of the water.

Different GUIDELINES FOR WATER QUALITY IN 5 CATEGORIES OF WATER USE INCLUDE:

  1. Human drinking water

  2. Recreation such as swimming

  3. Livestock drinking water

  4. Irrigation

  5. Protection of aquatic life


CHEMICAL FACTORS THAT AFFECT ORGANISMS

These are most commonly monitored as indicators of water quality:

1.Dissolved oxygen

  • Algae grows on top of lake in warm temperature

  • Water and atmospheric oxygen are not in contact and can not mix.

  • Algae dies and the organic matter is now food for bacteria, decomposition uses up more oxygen. Oxygen decreases, fish and aquatic insects cannot survive.

2. Acidity

  • From earlier, rain and snow have a normal pH of 5.6 because of CO2 in the air dissolving in them

  • As acidity increases, organisms decrease, for example, most fish disappear when the water’s pH fall to 4.5

3. Heavy metals (Hg, As, Pb)

  • Metals that have a density of 5g/cm3 or more, meaning they are 5 times or more heavier than an equal volume of water.

  • Includes mercury, copper, zinc, lead, cadmium and nickel.

  • These metals occur naturally and are made into everyday items like tires, batteries, and some fertilizers.

  • Affect the normal development in children, as well as causing permanent brain damage or death.

4. Plant and nutrients (N, P, K)

  • Runoff from fertilizers increase the growth of algae and green plants.

5. Pesticides

  • Some pesticides have long-term effects, but most are designed to last only one growing season, to be broken down by bacteria therefore are no longer toxic.

  • Many cause pesticide-resistant pests to develop and quickly, because of their rapid reproduction

6. Salts (NaCl, MgS)

SPRING ACID SHOCK :

When acidic deposits build up in ice and snow during winter. Once it melts in spring, the acid meltwater flows into aquatic systems lowering its pH level. This affects microbiological organisms, and increases how much heavy metal can dissolve in water.


Ocean Acidification



PARTS PER MILLION...(YAY MATH)

MEASURING CHEMICALS IN THE ENVIRONMENT

SHARKS HAVE A KEEN SENSE OF SMELL - SOME SHARKS CAN SMELL ONE DROP OF BLOOD IN 1000 ML OF WATER

SHARKS HAVE A KEEN SENSE OF SMELL - SOME SHARKS CAN SMELL ONE DROP OF BLOOD IN 1000 ML OF WATER


Parts Per Million:

Measures concentration dissolved in a million units of a substance

For example….

If you have a container with one million marbles, and one of those marbles is red, then we could say there is one part per million of red marbles.

  • use parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per litre (mg/L)

  • one part per million means that one unit of an element or chemical can be found in one million units of solution.

PPM = (Amount of Solute) / (Amount of Solution ) x 1,000,000

Solution = Solute + Solvent

1g water = 1ml water

EXAMPLE 1

  1. If you had 25 pieces defective in a shipment of 1,000 pieces.

  2. Then 25/1000= .025 or 2.5% of that shipment is defective.

  3. Now calculate that percentage by one million. 0.025 X 1,000,000 = 25,000 PPM.

EXAMPLE 2

  1. Suppose you make a food colouring solution by putting 99 mL of water in a beaker and adding 1 mL of food colouring.

  2. The concentration of food colouring in this beaker is 1 part food colouring per 100 parts solution, which is 1% or 0.01.

  3. Now calculate that percentage by one million. 0.01 X 1,000,000 = 10,000 PPM.

EXAMPLE 3:

  1. Suppose I have 100g of a salt solution, and the solution has 205 PPM of NaCl (Salt). How many grams of salt is there in the solution?

  2. First write out 205 ppm in a g/1,000,000 format = 205g/1,000,000g.

  3. Now multiply the ratio from step two by the amount of solution in step one. 100g x 0.000205 = 0.0205g

  4. In the 100g of salt solution there is 0.0205g of NaCl present.


Note: parts per billion (ppb) and parts per trillion (ppt) exist but the use of special equipment is necessary and only extremely hazardous substances are measured to this level, for example PCB’s.

PPM Questions


Dissolved Oxygen

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Invertebrates found in water are determined by the amount of dissolved oxygen.

5 mg/L (= 5ppm) of dissolved oxygen supports most organisms

LEVELS OF DISSOLVED OXYGEN DEPENDS ON many things:

  • Temperature, colder water holds more oxygen

  • Turbulence due to wind, speed of water flowing mixes water and oxygen

  • Amount of photosynthesis by plants and algae

  • Number of organisms using the oxygen

  • High concentrations of phosphorus and nitrogen affect the amount of dissolve oxygen.


MEASURING TOXICITY

Toxins:

Substances that produce serious health problems or death when introduced into an organism.

Example: Lead or Arsenic

Toxicity:

Describes how poisonous a substance is.

LD50:

A measurement used to compare toxins. LD means lethal dose, ‘50’ represents 50%.

  • LD50 is the amount of a substance that causes 50% of a group of test animals to die if they are given a specified dose of the substance all at once.

  • The more toxic a substance is, the lower the LD50 number is.

Different types of chemicals affect organisms in different ways:

Theobromine is found in chocolate:

LD50 humans : 1000 mg/kg

LD50 cats : 200 mg/kg

LD50 dogs : 300 mg/kg

This compares the toxicity of different substances because it is comparing the dosage that will produce death.

Question: If a bar of dark chocolate has 810 mg of Theobromine and your dog who weighs 5 kg eats it, what will happen?



MONITORING AIR QUALITY

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Air quality is determined by:

  • measuring the levels of pollutants in the air

  • estimating the amount of emissions from pollution sources (forest fires, industrial plants)

SULFUR DIOXIDE (SO2)

  • Forms when oxygen combines with sulfur

  • Causes smog and acid rain

  • Affects the respiratory system (throat and lungs) and irritates the eyes

  • Sources include burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas)

SCRUBBERS:

Are used to reduce SO2 emissions by 99%. SO2 reacts with limestone that converts it to gypsum used in manufacturing.

NITROGEN OXIDES (NOX)

  • Formed when nitrogen monoxide gas (NO) reacts with oxygen to form NO2, a brown gas

  • Causes smog and acid rain

  • Affects the respiratory system (throat and lungs) and irritates eyes

  • Sources include combustion in vehicles, generating plants, industrial processes

CARBON MONOXIDE (CO)

  • Forms when there is not enough oxygen to produce CO2, it has no colour and no odour, thus called the ‘silent killer

  • Affects the amount of oxygen content carried by blood cells, causing headaches, sleepiness, chest pains, brain damage and death

  • Sources include combustion in vehicles, wood, natural gas, industrial processes and cigarette smoking

GROUND-LEVEL OZONE (O3)

  • Carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compound (VOCs) (organic chemicals that evaporate easily) react with oxygen in the presence of heat and sunlight, to create a a colourless, odourless gas called Ozone.

  • Affects people who have lung diseases (asthma, even a cold!), breathing problems and long-term lung damage especially for developing children

  • Affects crops (wheat, soybeans, onion) and can causes rapid deterioration in plastic

  • Sources include fuel combustion in vehicles and industry


MONITORING THE ATMOSPHERE

Atmospheric pollution effects the entire globe!

Climate change:

A change in global or regional climate patterns

GREENHOUSE GAS:

Atmospheric gas that traps infrared (Heat) from being emitted back into space

  • water vapour

  • CO2

  • CH4

  • NOX

THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT :

Atmospheric gases in the air trap heat from the Sun’s radiant energy (we wan’t this to an extent)

A greenhouse effect out of control

With more gases trapping more heat, the Earth’s temperature is increasing

GLOBAL WARMING:

An increase in the average global temperature

  • Water vapour and CO2 are the 2 main contributors to global warming

  • Leads to climate change, violent storms, flooding and the spread of disease

  • Caused by human activities and natural events (volcanic eruptions, forest fires), increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases


THE OZONE LAYER

Ozone Layer:

A layer of ozone (O3) gas that resides in the upper atmosphere surrounding Earth

  • Absorbs ultraviolet radiation (UV) protecting the Earth’s surface

  • Forms naturally 15 to 50 km above Earth’s surface

  • As the layer thins, holes can be created allowing more UV radiation through which is damaging to organisms

CHLOROFLUOROCARBONS (CFCS):

Chemicals made of chlorine and fluorine that reacts with UV radiation which ultimately destroys ozone

The chlorine atom in CFC’s will react with 100 000 ozone molecules

CFCs are found in refrigerators, aerosol cans, fire extinguishers

The hole over the South Pole was created because the ice particles in the atmosphere speeds up the reaction that destroys ozone molecules


Monitoring the ozone Layer

Keeping track of something for a specific purpose. Chemicals are monitored to protect our water and air quality.

READ THE FOLLOWING:

Ozone Article

Write down words you don't know

Write down science vocab word you have already encountered


Harmful Substances Spread and Concentrate in the Environment

A MAP SHOWS HOW POLLUTANT CONCENTRATION LEVELS AND IT’S SOURCE MARKED BY RED DOTS

A MAP SHOWS HOW POLLUTANT CONCENTRATION LEVELS AND IT’S SOURCE MARKED BY RED DOTS

Chemicals know no boundaries! They Transport Through Air, Soil & Water…and borders!


Transport of chemicals in Air

The 3 stages of transport of substances in air are:

1.Release of the chemical from the source, chemical is dispersed into the atmosphere (the chemicals scatter in various directions

2.Direction and distance of airborne chemicals are determined by :

  • pollutant’s properties (Weight, size, and surface area of molecule)

  • wind’s speed and direction

  • precipitation/snow

  • ocean currents

3. Deposition of the chemical in soil or water

POLLUTION LEVELS IN CHINA AND JAPAN

POLLUTION LEVELS IN CHINA AND JAPAN


chemical Transport in Soil

Water carrying chemical substances can do 4 things in or on soil:

  1. Evaporate - leaving chemical traces on top of the soil

  2. Transpiration - soak into the soil, then be taken up by plants

  3. Collection - flow over top of soil eventually collecting in streams/river

  4. Form leachate - soak through the soil and move downward dissolving substances as it goes, carrying them along (this liquid is called leachate)

COFFEE IS TECHNICALLY A LEACHATE, YUMMY, YUMMY, LEACHATE

COFFEE IS TECHNICALLY A LEACHATE, YUMMY, YUMMY, LEACHATE

Leachate:

Water that has percolated through a solid (like soil) and leached out some of the constituents.

Composition of the soil affects the rate of the leachate’s movement

Ex. clay prevents leachate’s movement

Soils with a lot of organic material slows the movement of chemicals if they are absorbed by the organic material


Chemical Transport in Groundwater

Spaces between soil contains air and water, chemicals in water moves to the water table.

GR000014.GIF

Water table:

The top of the groundwater zone.

It then travels down to the groundwater (the next zone) where there is no air spaces.

Groundwater moves in all directions (sideways, up, down) and can move very slowly (1m per year) or very quickly (1m per day)

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Pores:

The tiny spaces between soil grains, if these are tightly packed, the groundwater containing the chemical moves slowly (clay particles are tiny, compared to sand)

Permeable soil:

Soil that contains interconnected pores which allows the quick movement of groundwater


Transport of Hydrocarbons in Soil

TAILINGS POND DEPOSITS WATER WITH HYDROCARBONS

TAILINGS POND DEPOSITS WATER WITH HYDROCARBONS

  • Hydrocarbons are carried by water in the soil

  • Hydrocarbons that do not dissolve coat grains of soil and fills up the pores in the soil, thus, concentration increases and also cleanup is difficult

  • Hydrocarbons are toxic to plants and animals (humans too!)


chemical Transport in Surface Water

FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR WASTEWATER DISPERSION

FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR WASTEWATER DISPERSION

  • Substances enter surface water from air, groundwater, runoff, outflow from sewers and sewage treatment plants

  • If the substance does not easily dissolve, it attaches to solids and will not travel very far and become more concentrated in the area

  • Substance are at the whims of ocean currents (ex. gulf stream)



Changing the Concentration of Harmful Chemicals in the Environment

The concentration of pollutants can be changed using different techniques:

  • Dispersion

  • Dilution

  • Biodegradation

  • Phytoremediation

  • Photolysis

Dispersion:

The scattering of a substance away from its source

Dilution:

Reduces the concentration of a pollutant by mixing the polluting substance with large quantities of air or water

 Dispersion and dilution may not meet government standards in leaving an area clean enough.

GOOD OLD FASHIONED COMPOST HEAP

GOOD OLD FASHIONED COMPOST HEAP

Biodegradation:

The breakdown of materials by organisms such as earthworms, and micro-organisms like bacteria, fungi, algae and protozoa.

Factors Affecting Biodegradation:

  • Temperature

  • Soil moisture

  • pH

  • Oxygen supply

  • Nutrient availability

Aerobic biodegradation:

Means that an organisms needs oxygen for the process

Anaerobic biodegradation: 

Requires no oxygen for the process

Phytoremediation:

A technique that can be used to reduce the concentration of harmful chemicals in soil and groundwater by the planting of plants that absorb or accumulate (build up) large amounts of chemicals from the soil.

  • The plants are allowed to grow absorbing the chemicals, then are harvested and burned or composted.

  • These chemicals include metals, hydrocarbons, solvents, pesticides, radioactive materials, explosives and landfill leachate.

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Photolysis:

The breakdown of compounds by sunlight.

  • For example, photodegradable plastic, it is made up of chemicals that when they react with sunlight, they turn the plastic into a fine powder.


Hazardous Chemicals Affect Living Things

Biomagnification:

Is the increase in concentration of a chemical or element as it moves up the food chain. (Remember bioaccumulation refers to the accumulation of toxic substance in animal over time, ex. a polar bear accumulates more toxins as it eats seals over time)

For example, if algae are infected with mercury, insects eat many algae, each obtaining amounts of mercury; fish eat many of the infected insects therefore obtaining even more amounts of mercury; and this continues up the food chain.

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How hazardous chemicals affect living things is also seen in the Case Study:

The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.


Hazardous Household Chemicals

  • Hazardous household chemicals includes:

    • household cleaners

    • paint and paint products

    • personal hygiene products

    • pesticides and fertilizers

    • pet-care products

    • automotive fluids

  • An average household has between 12L and 40L of hazardous products

  • These products can cause burns, heart, kidney and lung ailments, cancer, death.


Government Regulations

Designed to protect consumers and reduce risks in transporting, storing, using and disposing of hazardous materials.

Workplace Hazardous Materials

Information System (WHMIS) :

Provides information on hazardous materials using symbols.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDs): 

  • Detailed information sheets about hazardous products, provided by the manufacturer; includes:

  • description (its composition, physical appearance and chemical characteristics)

  • precautions

  • health effects

  • first aid treatment

  • spill procedures

  • disposal advice

Labels

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  • There are different labels for different purposes:

  • Ex. transport, use in the workplace, supply and disposal

New Product Regulations

  • To place a new product in the market, companies must provide information including

    • Intended use

    • physical and chemical properties

    • active ingredients

    • Instructions for use/safety precautions

    • Health effects

    • Environmental effects

    • Toxicity to humans

    • First aid instructions in case of poisoning


Storage and transportation of Hazardous Chemicals

PAINT AEROSOL BIN

PAINT AEROSOL BIN

Storage

  • Is relevant to prevent accidents and injury

  • Some examples include:

    • Leave in original containers

    • Make sure they have secure lids

    • Place in storage areas where they cannot fall over and spill

    • Store in cool, dry, ventilated places away from heat

Transportation of Consumer Goods

  • Hazardous materials should be placed in the trunk

  • Containers should stand upright and should not be able to move

  • Never mix chemicals together in one container

  • Should be left in original container when being disposed of

Disposal of Hazardous Chemicals

  • Never down the drain or into soil

  • Sewage treatment plants and septic tanks cannot remove these chemicals

  • Can contaminate drinking water, soil and air, and harm organisms if disposed of improperly

Hazardous Waste Collection Sites

  • These sites are used to dispose of hazardous wastes like paints and fertilizers

  • Materials not recyclable are labelled and sent to incineration plants