Recognizing the threats of dirty water in the United States goes clear back in history to the River and Harbor Act of 1886 by Congress, re-codified in 1899 with no water pollution control strategies necessary at that time. But in 1969, a Federal study showed different results entirely, with half of the public water supply’s natural water purification failing, becoming filled with neutralizing toxic substances and viruses that have brought on new forms of water pollution controls. Chemical, biological and physical resources are continuously being injected into the Earth’s ecosystem—ultimately finding its way into the water on Earth.
Realizing there is a limit to nature’s purification system against the fight of an endless waste bombardment of our country’s water resources; earlier the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) was enacted by Congress, passed originally in 1948. Becoming more popularly referred to as the Clean Water Act to enact forms of water pollution control in the country, it became the basic legal authority for water quality under Federal regulation.
As clean water became harder to find, the 1966 Clean Water Restoration Act fined any polluter $100 per day who did not submit required reports, with the 1970 same organization expanding the authority of our government, establishing a State procedure for certification that would prevent any degradation of water “below any applicable standards.” Water pollution control was on its way—through government control.
NASA is presently seeking to transfer their highly developed air and water pollution control system, a combined waste water pollution control and air pollution control system. This advanced technology would combine exhaust combustion gases with wastewater, flowing in a filtering system through a rock-plant-microbial-filtering system. Resulting in a higher degree of water treatment, it would also show an increase in purification degradation rates along with removal of organic chemicals from wastewater. Part of the NASA Technology Transfer Program, it is seeking to promote the development of commercial applications from NASA-developed technology, available for commercial applications.
What can be done to improve the big picture of water pollution control, besides the best method—prevention? The following is but a short list of the methods being used today.
• Plant crops or gardens which absorb nitrogen from the atmosphere o Whether we know it or not, nonpoint water pollution influences the majority of us through the runoff of agriculture products. o This can be improved by planting crops such as legumes (soybeans, peas, and beans ) which have a high source of protein for health, and also ‘fixes’ atmospheric nitrogen by converting it to a usable nitrate o Many crops are planed alternatively with tradition farm crops.
• Clean ups of oil spills and sewage disposal o Mechanical methods—small boats vacuum oil from the water surface and large absorbent pads soak up oil on beaches o Chemical methods—dispersing agents which form slicks of less concentrated; congealing agents that clump oil together so it will sink to the bottom. o Natural methods–Over time, bacteria decomposes the toxin as water/waves mix the oil and/or sewage with water.