Did you know that 97%% of the Earth’s water is salt water? Although fresh water makes up only 3%, it is just 1% that is okay for human consumption. But are we actually using that full 1% of fresh, drinkable water? The answer is a resounding no, as the ongoing problem of industrial wastewater has yet to be resolved in a comprehensive way.
How We Can Get Clean Water: Groundwater Contamination Remediation.
As much as 70% of industrial waste ends up in our groundwater supply after being dumped into the country’s water bodies. This is concerning because groundwater makes up over 95% of our fresh water resources. About half of the population relies on groundwater as their source of drinkable water.
What Chemicals Are Causing Groundwater Pollution?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency coal ash waster water, which is filled with coal combustion residuals, is considered the producer of the largest industrial waste stream. Coal ash waster water is produced when coal is burned down to ash at an industrial site. This residual ash may contain traces of chemicals such as mercury and arsenic. Before a company is allowed to dispose of the coal ash waster water, it must be tested by the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure, or TCLP. If the TCLP detects unacceptable levels of contaminants, it must be treated and retested.
What Other Sites Are Polluting the Water Supply?
There are specific sites in the country that the EPA has identified as requiring an environmental site assessment, ESA. These sites are referred to as brownfields. As specified by the EPA, a brownfield is any former commercial or industrial site where future use might be affected by perceived or real environmental contamination if the site is not appropriately cleaned up. Surprisingly, a site such as a gas station or even a dry cleaning shop. The remediation of these sites is a sore point for many communities because these land plots sit abandoned, awaiting environmental remediation.
Coal ash waster water can be treated by applying primary and secondary treatments, which remove between 85% to 95% of the pollutants before the water is disinfected and fit to be released to the surrounding water bodies. An agreement that meets the conditions of the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act known as the Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule. This rule specifically states the conditions for coal ash waster water to be treated and released while keeping in compliance with both governmental acts.