Point source pollution

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Terms & Synonyms

Official WHO Definition

A pollution input that can be related to a single outlet (UNEP et al. 1997)

Other Definitions


Interpretations and Explanations

As point sources are localised, spatial profiles of the quality of the aquatic environment may be used to locate them. Some point sources are characterised by a relatively constant discharge of the polluting substances over time, such as domestic sewers, whereas others are occasional or fluctuating discharges, such as leaks and accidental spillages. A sewage treatment plant serving a fixed population delivers a continuous load of nutrients to a receiving water body. Therefore, an increase in river discharge causes greater dilution and a characteristic decrease in river concentration. This contrasts with atmospheric deposition and other diffuse sources where increased land run-off often causes increased pollutant concentrations in the receiving water system (UNEP et al. 1997).


UNEP, Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council and WHO (1997) Water pollution control : a guide to the use of water quality management principles

WHO Lexicon page (translations and examples)

See also

External Resources


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