Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Soil Contamination Terminology Part One

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As I am sure you all have discovered through our blog, soil contamination is a global and complex epidemic. However in order to be aware and cause a change, one must understand and be able to discuss the terminology in regards to soil contamination. Below is some basic and common terminology derived from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with their definition that is associated with soil contamination:

1. Contamination:

“Introduction into water, air, and soil of microorganisms, chemicals, toxic substances, wastes, or wastewater in a concentration that makes the medium unfit for its next intended use” (

Contamination can have many definitions and can be used in variety of ways and contexts. However for this topic it is important that we define contamination in regards to make the 'medium unfit for its next intended use'. This distinction is important because this is what makes soil contamination so adverse and harmful.

2. Conventional Pesticides:

“Any man-made chemical, which can be used to kill pests” (

Pesticides are used to reduce pest, but they can be a pest themselves. When these chemicals are used to treat farmlands they often get absorbed into the ground or soil causing contamination.

3. Ground Water:

“The supply of fresh water found beneath the earth's surface, usually in aquifers, which supply wells and springs” (

Ground water is found between the cracks and crevasses of the ground or soil. It is also source of drinking water. If our ground water is contaminated so are the chances the soil or ground will be where that water was located.

4. Herbicides:

“A chemical pesticide designed to control or destroy plants, weeds, or grasses” (

These chemical are commonly used on farms while growing food. These chemicals are also a n notorious contributor to soil contamination. When farmers spray the chemicals on to the vegetables and fruits in order to treat them, they are often absorbed into the soil.

Do you still have some terminology you do not understand? Click the link below Type in your term and press go to enjoy more definitions and information on environmental vocabulary.

Pure Soil, Pure Food, Pure People,

Maryah Jackson, 2015


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