Glossary of Water Terms - A
abandoned well: any well (drinking water, oil and gas, etc.) which is not used for a long period of time, is not maintained properly, and/or is not properly sealed when its useful life is over.
acidity: the strength (concentration of hydrogen [H+] ions) of an acidic substance; measured as pH.
acid rain (or acid precipitation): rain with a pH of less than 5.6; results from atmospheric moisture mixing with sulphur and nitrogen oxides emitted from burning fossil fuels or from volcanic activity; may cause damage to buildings, monuments, car finishes, crops, forests, wildlife habitats, and aquatic life.
The Act to Prevent Pollution From Ships: legislation regulating the discharge of oil, noxious liquid substances, or garbage generated during normal operations of vessels.
adhesion: force of attraction between two unlike materials.
aeration: the process of exposing to circulating air.
aerial photography: high altitude pictures taken from an aircraft or satellite.
aerobic: living or occurring in the presence of oxygen.
agricultural sewage: waste produced through the agricultural processes of cultivating the soil, producing crops, or raising livestock.
agriculture: the science, art, and business of cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock; farming.
airborne pollutants: contaminants borne by air that cause harm to human health or the environment.
algae: any of a large group of simple plants that contain chlorophyll; are not divisible into roots, stems and leaves; do not produce seeds; and include the seaweeds and related freshwater and land plants.
algal bloom: a heavy growth of algae in and on a body of water; usually results from high nitrate and phosphate concentrations entering water bodies from farm fertilizers and detergents; phosphates also occur naturally under certain conditions.
alternative: a chance to choose between two or more possibilities; one of the two or more possible choices.
alum: as used in drinking water treatment, aluminum sulfate; added to water in drinking water treatment facilities to cause dirt and other particles to clump together and fall to the bottom of settling basins.
amendments: revisions or changes (as to laws).
anaerobic bacteria: any bacteria that can survive in the complete or partial absence of air.
Aqua Lung: a trademark for a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba).
aquacade: an entertainment spectacle of swimmers and divers, often performing in unison to the accompaniment of music.
aquaculture: the science, art, and business of cultivating marine or freshwater food fish or shellfish, such as oysters, clams, salmon, and trout, under controlled conditions.
aquamarine: a transparent blue-green variety of beryl, used as a gemstone.
aquanaut: a person trained to live in underwater installations and conduct, assist in, or be a subject of scientific research.
aquaplane: a board on which one rides in a standing position while it is pulled over the water by a motorboat.
aquarelle: a drawing done in transparent water colors.
aquarist: one who maintains an aquarium.
aquarium: a tank, bowl, or other water-filled enclosure in which living aquatic animals and, often, plants are kept.
Aquarius: a constellation in the equatorial region of the Southern Hemisphere near Pisces and Aquila.
aquatic life: plants, animals, and microorganisms that spend all or part of their lives in water.
aqueduct: a conduit designed to transport water from a remote source, usually by gravity.
aquifer: an underground layer of unconsolidated rock or soil that is saturated with usable amounts of water (a zone of saturation).
Army Corps of Engineers: Branch of the U.S. Army; responsible for maintaining and regulating inland waterways.
artesian well: a well in which the water comes from a confined aquifer and is under pressure. One type of artesian well is a free-flowing artesian well where water just flows or bubbles out of ground without being pumped.
atmospheric transport: the movement of air pollutants from one region to another by wind; may be hundreds of miles.
autotroph: an organism that can make its own food (usually using sunlight).