Coursework Sample Paper on Geology

    1. 7. Describe the major steps in wastewater treatment (primary, secondary, advanced). Can natural ecosystems perform any of these functions? Which ones?
    2. Water screening: This involves removal of large waste materials as the waste water enter the treatment plant. Debris that could cause technical damage on the system are successfully removed from the waste water.
    3. Removal of grit: This involves passing water through a grit chamber in order to remove grit available in water.

    iii. Sedimentation process: Sedimentation process helps in the removal of organic materials settling at the bottom of the waste water.

    1. Collection of sludge: water is pumped to the sludge processing unit for removal of sludge.
    2. Removal of iron and calcium: This is made possible through filtration that removes the excess iron and calcium.
    3. Chlorination: This is undertaken in order to remove bacteria that could be present in the water. The use of chemicals is also adopted in this step in order to help neutralize the strength of chlorine in the water (Nazaroff & Weschler, 2004).

    vii. Dispose the effluent: This is mostly disposed into moving rivers and lakes.

    Can natural ecosystems perform any of these functions? Which ones?


    Yes, the sedimentation process that involves removal of organic materials can be carried out using various aquatic lives to feed on the organic materials (Nazaroff & Weschler, 2004).

    1. How does water that drains from coal mines become contaminated with sulfuric acid? Why is this an important environmental problem?


    This is commonly referred to as acid mine drainage. The contamination occurs when waters from the coal mines run over materials with sulfur hence forming solutions of acidity in nature. This condition is critical and is of environmental concern since the resulting acidity normally causes death to marine life and other environmental lives including plantation.


    1. What is eutrophication, and why is it an ecosystem effect?

    Eutrophication refers to when the environment become enriched with nutrients. This could result from activities such as use of fertilizers in planting activities like run-offs that causes the fertilizers to washed into water bodies. The effects of eutrophication could be adverse in the environment with causes such as algal gloom. This is a condition that is characterized by phytoplankton massively reproducing into the water bodies. The effects of excess algae is that the plantation could use a lot of oxygen within the water bodies hence causing insufficient oxygen for other marine lives. The effect of this is loss of lives that is great loss to the ecosystem (Ryther & Dunstan, 1971)

    1. What are the differences between primary and secondary pollutants?


    The differences that exist between primary and secondary pollutants can be achieve from their characteristics. Primary pollutants are normally directly emitted from their actual sources. It should be noted that primary pollutants can be emitted from their natural sources that in most cases involves the atmosphere. Human actions are normallycentral in this type of pollution. Among the common types of primary pollutants include, effluents from human activities, gases resulting from natural activities like volcanic eruptions. In most instances primary pollutants are normally harmful. Acid rains and actions like global warming are key primary pollutants and normally have adverse effects on the environment (Nazaroff & Weschler, 2004).

    On the other hand secondary pollutants are never delivered directly into the airspace as in the case with primary pollutants. Other pollutants are often responsible for emission of secondary pollutants into the atmosphere. The effects of these pollutants are not also normally felt directly (Nazaroff & Weschler, 2004).



    1. 8. Discuss the processes responsible for stratospheric ozone depletion. Which are most significant? Where? Why?



    There are a number of activities that often results into depletion of the ozone layer. One of this is human activities in various sectors. Activities such as felling of trees have highly resulted into emission of various harmful gases into the atmosphere owing to lack of purification process that is majorly carried out by plantation. Again, industrial activities relating to manufacturing normally results into production of harmful gases that have great impact in the depletion of the ozone layer (Solomon, Garcia, Rowland & Wuebbles, 1986)

    Human activities have great impact on depletion of ozone layer than other process. This is majorly due to the increasing population that continue to engage in harmful activities.






    Solomon, S., Garcia, R. R., Rowland, F. S., & Wuebbles, D. J. (1986). On the depletion of Antarctic ozone. Nature321(6072), 755-758.

    Nazaroff, W. W., & Weschler, C. J. (2004). Cleaning products and air fresheners: exposure to primary and secondary air pollutants. Atmospheric Environment38(18), 2841-2865.

    Ryther, J. H., & Dunstan, W. M. (1971). Nitrogen, phosphorus, and eutrophication in the coastal marine environment. Science171(3975), 1008-1013.