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Applied Hydrogeology

by C. W. Fetter
Fourth Edition, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 2001

Chapter 10: Water Quality and Ground-Water Contamination

"The quality of water that we ingest, as well as the quality of water in our lakes, steams, rivers, and oceans, is a critical parameter in determining the overall quality of our lives. Water quality is determined by the solutes and gases dissolved in the water, as well as the matter suspended in and floating on the water. Water quality is a consequence of the natural physical and chemical state of the water as well as any alterations that may have occurred as a consequence of human activity. The usefulness of water for a particular purpose is determined by the water quality. If human activity alters the natural water quality so that it is no longer fit for a use of which is had previously been suited, the water is said to be polluted or contaminated. It should be noted that in many areas water quality ha been impacted by human activity, but the water is still usable."

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