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A national look at water quality

January 1, 2002

Most water-quality problems we face today result from diffuse "nonpoint" sources of pollution from agricultural land, urban development, forest harvesting and the atmosphere (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers et al., 1999). It is difficult to quantify nonpoint sources because the contaminants they deliver vary in composition and concentrations from hour to hour and season to season. Moreover, the nature of the contamination is complex and varied. When Congress enacted the Clean Water Act 30 years ago, attention was focused on water-quality issues related to the sanitation of rivers and streams - bacteria counts, oxygen in the water for fish, nutrients, temperature, and salinity. Now, attention is turning to the hundreds of synthetic organic compounds like pesticides used in agricultural and residential areas, volatile organics in solvents and gasoline, microbial and viral contamination, and pharmaceuticals and hormones.

Publication Year 2002
Title A national look at water quality
Authors Robert J. Gilliom, David K. Mueller, John S. Zogorski, Sarah J. Ryker
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Water Resources Impact
Index ID 70180265
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse