Q:

What are some examples of soil pollutants?

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Quick Answer

Examples of soil pollutants are toxic chemicals, pesticides, lead, sewage and metals. Others include acid, solvents and herbicides. Leftover ash can get in the ground through coal production and disposal.

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Pesticides are used to eradicate insects that damage crops, but the leftover chemicals can stay in the soil for decades. These chemicals remain in the ground because the elements contained within fail to break down. For instance, the pesticide DDT has been found in the soil 40 years after its application. Traces of these chemicals can be found in plants, and residue can get onto pets and into homes.

Industrial pollutants in the form of lead and solvents are also not biodegradable. These are leftover byproducts from manufacturing centers. One example is dioxin, a common industrial hazard that is a leftover remnant when waste products are incinerated. These toxins also escape into the air and end up in the soil when rain water lands on the ground.

Acid rain is a prime example of a hazardous chemical that seeps into the ground. Acid rain is caused by natural occurrences, such as volcanic activity, but certain industries can also cause this phenomenon. For example, the fossil fuel industry can create acid rain. Acid rain contains high amounts of sulfur and nitrate, which are acids that destroy nutrients and minerals in the ground that plants and trees need to survive.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What causes pollution?

    A:

    Pollution has many causes, including excessive fuel burning, industrial wastes, pesticides, oil spills and unwanted chemicals being absorbed into the soil. The primary kinds of pollution are air, water and soil pollution, but certain areas can suffer from radioactive pollution, heat pollution, noise pollution and light pollution.

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  • Q:

    How does erosion effect humans?

    A:

    Erosion effects humans by adding additional toxic organic chemicals and heavy metals to the soil as well as eroding land so that there is less land to farm on. Humans are accelerating the rate of erosion.

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  • Q:

    How does contour plowing conserve soil?

    A:

    Contour plowing conserves soil by following the lay of the land and creating ridges that form a water break to prevent soil erosion. Furrows that do not follow the lay of the land cause rapid runoff during rainfall by forming a convenient channel for the water to flow downhill.

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  • Q:

    How do you dispose of contaminated soil?

    A:

    According to Phase IV soil treatment standards from the Environmental Protection Agency, you must reduce the hazardous elements in contaminated soil by at least 90 percent or meet 10 times the standard for universal treatment given the specific contaminant before disposing of the soil in an approved landfill. Other state regulations further govern the disposal of contaminated soil based on the type of contamination.

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