Ways to reduce thermal pollution include using less electricity, limiting the amount of heated water discharged into the same body of water, transferring heat from water to the atmosphere with cooling towers and recycling heated water as cooling water after it is cooled in collecting ponds, according to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's School of Engineering. Thermal pollution is defined as artificially raising the temperature of water or air.
Most thermal pollution in the United States comes from water used to cool electrical power plants. The simplest way to accomplish cooling with water is to remove cool water from a nearby body of water and then return the heated water back to the same natural body. Retaining heated water in artificial holding areas can reduce thermal pollution. When this water cools, it can be recycled rather than going back into natural bodies of water. Using the heated water for a secondary process or for space heating can reduce the effects of thermal pollution on the environment.
Thermal pollution is also created by removing shade trees from the banks of lakes and rivers. When more natural sunlight reaches the surface of water, the temperature rises. Other causes of thermal pollution include water runoff from hot pavement and soil erosion, according to the Eugene P. Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia.