Understanding water quality
Understanding water quality

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Understanding water quality

Understanding water quality

Introduction

Please note, this course was written in 2003/2004 therefore some of the information is now outdated.

In this free course, Understanding water quality, you will look at the main properties of natural water and how these may be altered by pollutants of various types. Natural water is not just H2O: all natural waters contain dissolved and suspended substances - seawater is an obvious example of water containing dissolved salts, but freshwater does also, although at a far lower concentration. Water pollution is defined as a change in the quality of the water due to human activity that makes the water less suitable for use than it was originally (Figure 1). It is difficult to set absolute standards of purity that apply for all uses of water however, because water that is considered clean enough for one purpose may be too polluted for another.

Figure 1 Faulty oil tanks leak oil into a river in New Orleans, USA. Because oil floats on water without dissolving, a small amount can quickly spread out to cover a large area. Some types of oil contain toxic compounds that can enter the food chain.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 2 study in Environment & Development [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

S278_15

Take your learning further371

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses372.

If you are new to university level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. Find out Where to take your learning next?373 You could either choose to start with an Access courses374or an open box module, which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification.

Not ready for University study then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn375 and sign up to our newsletter376 to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371