Since the industrial revolution, agricultural methods have intensified, specifically even in the middle decades of the 20th century. Each revolutionary system brings new technology to the farming industry, increasing crop yields by area of arable land. However, farming may seem simple, but when you plant something, watch it growing day by day, and when it’s time, you can harvest it. You may wish it could be more accessible, but this is a complicated thing in reality.
Anyhow, industrial agriculture mainly causes water pollution in the United States. According to a 2017 National Water Quality Inventory of Environmental Protection Agency, “46 percent of the rivers in the United States are significantly in poor condition whereas 21 percent lakes contain a high level of algae that degrade water quality. Industrial water pollutions have many adverse effects on the environment and people’s daily lives.
Generally, the farming water system contains a high level of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which is greatly harmful to the biological diversity of waterways. Also, it can be the result in loss of aquatic life plus habitats. Polluted water also has a great impact on the quality of life that poses a threat to public health as well.
Due to the algal blooms, beaches may close plus fishing activities could be severely limited. Additionally, excessive nutrients runoff in waterways also can impact drinking water supplies which can cause severe health problems.
Negative Effects of Water Pollution from Agriculture
Let’s discuss the negative effects of water pollution from agriculture in detail.
- Heavy Metal Contamination
Excessive amounts of heavy metals like zinc or copper are usually fed as supplements to chickens or pigs to grow them quicker, as well as helps prevent any diseases. Whereas other metals present in animal foods can waste are included mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and lead that accumulates in soil when animal wastes are sprayed on farm fields that can contaminate water supplies. Anyhow, metal contamination food is ideal for animals, but it has harmful effects on the human body.
- Algal Blooms, Dead Zones, and Acidification
One of the excessive aquatic plant growth lies in the high quantities of nutrients in the water from the industrial crop fertilizers. This process is known as “eutrophication,” which causes “hypoxia,” or either water is low in oxygen. When the aquatic algae grow rapidly, harmful algal blooms occur. In fact, some rapid terms can also kill fish plus other lives that can cause human illness.
- Nitrates and Other Contaminants in Drinking Water
Another dangerous thing for the human body is the increasing nitrate levels in drinking water. It causes lower oxygen levels in the infant’s body or lower the birth weight. It also may indicate other agricultural-related contaminations in the water supply for instace the pesticides.
But the EPA mentions that a nitrate level above three mm in water indicates the “contamination” while a level above one mm indicates due to human activity.
Drinking chemical polluted water from agricultural waterways is a problem. People who live in California drink continental water that is linked to cancer in their drinking water.
- Pathogen Contamination and Disease Outbreaks
Animal waste includes a higher level of pathogens that leads to human diseases. Contaminated water can end up in waterways. Contaminated water can end up in rivers when the factory farm lagoons leaks. Pathogens can survive after being sprayed onto farm fields, leaching into groundwater. So, people can simply become sick by consuming water.
Water Usage in Agriculture
In the western states, up to 90 percent of fresh water is used for agricultural purposes. Most US farms use the center-pivot irrigation system to sprinkle water. Even though water used is obtained from the surface water sources in the USA, many families continue to draw well-water. However, the government should take steps to improve the agricultural plumbing system.