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2. ^ North Carolina State University. Department of Soil Science. "Glossary."
3. ^ ,.,',;';,.'/Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE). New York, NY. "Sustainable Table: Dictionary."
4. ^ Harrison, R.M (edited by). Understanding Our Environment, An Introduction to Environmental Chemistry and Pollution, Third Edition. Royal Society of Chemistry. 1999. ISBN 0-85404-584-8
5. ^ United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Washington, DC. "Protecting Water Quality from Agricultural Runoff." Document No. EPA 841-F-05-001. March 2005.
6. ^ EPA. "Protecting Water Quality from Urban ...view middle of the document...
Environmental chemistry involves first understanding how the uncontaminated environment works, which chemicals in what concentrations are present naturally, and with what effects. Without this it would be impossible to accurately study the effects humans have on the environment through the release of chemicals.
Environmental chemists draw on a range of concepts from chemistry and various environmental sciences to assist in their study of what is happening to a chemical species in the environment. Important general concepts from chemistry include understanding chemical reactions and equations, solutions, units, sampling, and analytical techniques.
Contents [hide] * 1 Contamination * 2 Environmental indicators * 3 Applications * 4 Methods * 5 Published analytical methods * 6 See also * 7 References * 8 Further reading * 9 External links |
A contaminant is a substance present in nature at a level higher than typical levels or that would not otherwise be there. This may be due to human activity. The term contaminant is often used interchangeably with pollutant, which is a substance that has a detrimental impact on the surrounding environment. Whilst a contaminant is sometimes defined as a substance present in the environment as a result of human activity, but without harmful effects, it is sometimes the case that toxic or harmful effects from contamination only become apparent at a later date.
The "medium" (e.g. soil) or organism (e.g. fish) affected by the pollutant or contaminant is called a receptor, whilst a sink is a chemical medium or species that retains and interacts with the pollutant.
 Environmental indicators
Main article: Freshwater environmental quality parameters
Chemical measures of water quality include dissolved oxygen (DO), chemical oxygen demand (COD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), total dissolved solids (TDS), pH, nutrients nitrates and phosphorus), heavy metals (including copper, zinc, cadmium, lead and mercury), and pesticides.
See also: Category:Water quality indicators
Environmental chemistry is used by the Environment Agency (in England and Wales), the Environmental Protection Agency (in the United States) the Association of Public Analysts, and other environmental agencies and research bodies around the world to detect and identify the nature and source of pollutants. These can include:
* Heavy metal contamination of land by industry. These can then be transported into water bodies and be taken up by living organisms.
* Nutrients leaching from agricultural land into water courses, which can lead to algal blooms and eutrophication.
* Urban runoff of pollutants washing off impervious surfaces (roads, parking lots, and rooftops) during rain storms. Typical pollutants include gasoline, motor oil and other hydrocarbon compounds, metals, nutrients and sediment (soil).
* Organometallic compounds.