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Water Pollution

Water, an important everyday commodity, often times is underappreciated for those with easy accessibility. It is important to recognize water as one of our natural resources and it is our responsibility to conserve and keep it clean. In the United States of America, almost 50% of our lakes and streams (by area) are classified as polluted. (1)

Sources of Water Pollution

  • Domestic Sewage:
    In some countries, untreated sewage accounts for up to 40% of all water pollution. Improper disposal, faulty septic tanks, and burst pipes can cause issues, but policies in place in the United States of America ensure that domestic sewage is no longer a major problem.

  • Industrial & Agricultural Wastewater:
    Industrial and Agricultural sewage is usually too potent for our sewage treatment plants, so public policies regulate how the sewage is disposed of. Policies must be enforced to be effective, though, and it is difficult to enforce regulations that can be disobeyed and then covered up in a very short period of time. Major sources of water pollution are sourced to cattle farming effluent, oil and grease, heavy metals from pesticides like Triclosan and Nanosilver, and volatile organic compounds like paint, degreaser, and nail polish. (2)

  • Urban Runoff:
    Heavy regulation usually prevents chemical and soil runoff from construction sites, but enforcement is an ongoing concern. The most frequent causes of urban runoff pollution is sourced to improper disposal, application, or handling of fertilizers, pesticides, oils, and motor fuel. The amount of fertilizers and pesticides making its way to the ocean, along with rising world temperature, has caused massive failure of coral colonies worldwide. Coral is referred to as the rainforest of the ocean and almost 90% has been killed off since 2012. (3)




  • A Newer World: politics, money, technology, and what's really being done to solve the climate crisis - William F. Hewitt
  • A Civil Action - Jonathan Harr
  • The State of the Earth: Environmental Challenges on the Road to 2100 - Paul K. Conkin


  • FLOW
  • Tapped
  • Blue Gold: World Water Wars


  1. United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Washington, DC. "The National Water Quality Inventory: Report to Congress for the 2002 Reporting Cycle A Profile." October 2007. Fact Sheet No. EPA 841-F-07-003.
  2. "An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.
  3. Cooney, Daniel. "One-Quarter of World's Coral Reefs Destroyed." ABC News. ABC News Network, n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2014.

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Internships and Volunteer Opportunities

If you would like to help plan events through the Cesar Chavez Student Center's Sustainable Initiatives program, or help educate students on how to compost and recycle, please send an email to There are currently 3 Spring Internships avaiable: Administrative Support, Outreach and Communication, and Project Development


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Last Updated on April 23, 2014