Water pollution has been happening since the beginning of human history. However, the pollutants that most people think of today mostly began after the Industrial Revolution and became a significant problem in the late 1800s.
Early forms of water pollution were usually due to contamination from human and animal waste, which caused major outbreaks of diseases like cholera. After the Industrial Revolution, new manufacturing and mining processes caused toxic chemicals to be dumped into lakes and rivers at a high rate. Several bodies of water became so polluted that they caught fire. However, even in ancient times industries like textile dye factories and tanneries were known for causing water pollution.