The water pollution can take many forms: chemical, bacteriological, but also a thermal pollution. In addition, it have to be taken into account that polluted water and water bodies may be fresh, brackish, or salt, ground or surface. It may even be rain or dew, snow or polar ice.
It can also involve interfaces, including estuaries, wetlands, and particularly its sediments that can absorb and release some pollutants. Sediment can be heavily polluted and retain traces of ancient pollution (there are sometimes a great amount of shot and fishing lead where these activities are practiced).
The fight against pollution is very difficult because what is at the bottom of the water, or diluted in water is often invisible, and some toxic infiltrated into the ground often produce their effects after a long time and many pollutants act in complex synergies. In addition, a spill of 4,000 liters of carbon tetrachloride, which occurred near Erstein in 1970, which passed almost unnoticed at the time, twenty years later led to contamination of groundwater and dug a well seven kilometers downstream. Nitrates can achieve some layers after several decades.
Water pollution usually occurs by direct or indirect contact of contaminants with the water, in the absence of adequate measures for the treatment and disposal of hazardous substances.
In most cases, contamination of water remains invisible because contaminants are dissolved in it.
Nevertheless, there are exceptions: foaming cleansers as well as floating oil products and raw sewage. There are also several natural pollutants. Aluminum compounds, which are in the ground, get into water as a result of chemical reactions. The floods washed out of the soil of grassland magnesium compounds, which cause great damage to fish stocks.
However, the amount of natural contaminants is negligible compared with human caused pollution.
Every year, thousands tons of chemicals with unpredictable effects get in water pools. The water can indicate elevated levels of toxic heavy metals (such as cadmium, mercury, lead, and chromium), pesticides, nitrates, and phosphates, oil, surfactants, and drugs. As you may know, every year up to 12 million tons of oil gets in the oceans.
Acid rains make some contribution to the increase in the concentration of heavy metals in water.
They are capable of dissolving minerals in the soil, which leads to the increase the content of heavy metal ions in the water. Due to the activity of the nuclear power plants, radioactive waste products get into water.
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