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Transcript of Sediment Pollution
What is sediment?
Sediment is soil particles such as sand, silt, and clay that settle at the bottom of a body of water. It can come from erosion or the decomposition of plants and animals. It is carried by wind, water and ice to streams, rivers and lakes.
The EPA lists sediments as the most common pollutant in streams, rivers and reservoirs.
Natural erosion produces nearly 30% of the total sediment in the United States, while accelerated erosion from human use of land makes up the other 70%.
Most of the sediment released comes from construction activities. Most are minor home-building activities such additions and swimming pools.
Sediment pollution causes approximately $16 billion in environmental damage every year.
Sediment pollution degrades the quality of the water for drinking, wildlife and the land surrounding the streams in the following ways:
Ways that you can help to prevent soil pollution:
There are a lot of everyday activities that we all can do to cut down on the amount of sediment that enters our streams, rivers and lakes.
Sediment fills up storm drains and catch basins, which increases the chance of flooding.
Sediment increases the cost of treating drinking water and results in taste and odor problems.
Water polluted with sediment becomes murky, making it difficult for animals to see their food.
Murky water prevents natural plants from growing in the water.
Sediment in stream beds disrupts the food chain by destroying the habitat of the smallest organisms and causing large declines in fish populations.
Sediment can clog fish gills, reducing their resistance to disease, lowering growth rates and affecting development.
Sediment deposits in streams and rivers can alter the flow of water, reduce water depth, and make navigating and recreation difficult.
Nutrients in the sediment can cause the growth of blue-green algae that could make swimmers sick.
Use weed-free mulch when reseeding bare spots on your lawn, and use a straw erosion control blanket if restarting or tilling your lawn.
Put compost or weed-free mulch in your garden to help prevent soil from washing away.
Wash your car at a commercial car wash or on a surface such as grass that is able to absorb the water.
Notify local government officials if you see sediment entering streets or streams from construction sites.
Avoid mowing within 10-25 feet from the bank of streams, creeks, and rivers. This creates a buffer zone that will help to minimize erosion and naturally filter any stormwater runoff that may contain sediment.
Sweep sidewalks and driveways instead of hosing them off. Hosing down these areas could result in sediment and other contaminants entering streams and rivers.
United States Environmental Protection Agency -Sediments
United States Environmental Protection Agency -What is Sediment Pollution
Suspended solids can significantly reduce or limit the sunlight that penetrates the water, which is required by aquatic plants and animals.
Turbidity interferes with feeding habits of fish and leads to reduced populations of fish and plant populations.