thermal pollution, definition of

Thermal Pollution
Thermal pollution is the degradation of the water quality by any process that changes the ambient water temperature. A common cause of thermal pollution is the use of water as a coolant by power plants and industrial manufacturers. When water used as a coolant is returned to the natural environment at a higher temperature, the change in temperature can impact organisms by:
  •  decreasing the oxygen supply, and,
  •  affecting the ecosystem composition.

Also by increasing the temperature of water that is normally cold it can increase the likelihood of water born diseases.

Urban runoff, such as storm water discharged to surface waters from roads and parking lots, can also be a source of elevated water temperatures.

Related Tags: pollution, ecosystem, water

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