Point Source Pollution
The most easily identifiable form of environmental contamination is point source pollution. Point source pollution occurs when contaminants are introduced to an ecosystem at a specific location and point in time. Common examples include:
- Chemical waste dumping
- Thermal discharge (discharge of hot water into a receiving body; often the water was used as coolant)
- Oil spills
- Waste-water disposal
The effects of these various materials in aquatic ecosystems vary depending on the chemical or contaminant involved and the amount of the discharge; the regulation of discharges into water is an important aspect of the preservation of overall water quality.