Environmental Chemistry by: Sandra Yanez & Kiara Silvas

Heat vs Temperature
  • Heat and temperature are related to each other but are different concepts.
  • Heat is the transfer of energy
  • Temperature is a measure of the average energy molecular motion in a substance.

Laws of Thermo

  • First law- matter and energy can not be created or destroyed.
  • Second law- entropy is always increasing.(Entropy= spread out, mixed together, chaos or disorder.)
  • Third law- there is no molecular motion, absolute zero is impossible to reach.( perfect order, not possible). 4) Zero law- energy moves from high to low.

Calories and Specific Heat- 4.186 Joule= 1 calories. Another common energy unit is the calorie. The calorie, cal, is defined as the amount of energy (heat) needed to increase the temperature of one gram of water by 1oC. The kilocalorie, kcal, equals 1000 small calories.


Up-Cycling vs Down-Cycling

  • Down Cycling diminishes value.By contrast, down cycling occurs when waste material is converted into something of lesser value. (Ex: Recycling plastics is often down cycling because the end product is a lesser quality plastic.)
  • Up Cycling increases value. Up cycling is better than Down cycling because up cycling prolongs the useful life of materials. (Ex: Once a backpack wears out, it can be torn up and be used to be the stuff in a dog bed.)
Types of Plastics and Issues
  • PET(Polyethylene Terephthalate)
  • HDPE( High-Density Polyethylene)
  • PVC(Polyvinyl Chloride)
  • LDPE(Low-Density Polyethylene)
  • PP(Polypropylene)
  • PS(Polystyrene)
  • Plastic is being made faster than it is being recycled.
Recycling Metals and Paper
  • Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 mature trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, and 2 barrels of oil, Every ton of paper recycled can save the energy equivalent of 165 gallons of gasoline.
  • Recycling steel and tin cans saves 74% of the energy used to make them from organic material. A used Aluminum can is recycled and back in use as a new can in as little as 60 days.

Soil Profiles

  • O Horizon- 0 to 2 feet deep(depends on the amount of vegetation).
  • A Horizon- Called the top soil, (biological life depends on this area.)
  • E Horizon- not all soil contains it(leaching layer, light in color, no nutrients.)
  • B Horizon- subsoil;(lots of minerals and clay that holds onto water; roots extend to this layer.)
  • C Horizon-immediately above the bedrock,( consisting of weathered, partially decomposed rock.)
  • R Horizon- Bedrock( we drill through the bedrock to get water.)
soil profiles
Soil Textures

Sand-Gritty feeling, Can be seen with the naked eye, Hand sampling; no residue left on the hand.


Silt- Can be seen with a hands lens or microscope, coats the hand, easy to brush off(but still will coat hand).

Silt mud

Clay- Can not be seen(can be seen with electron microscope), Sticks to hands.

  • Issues with soil: In addition to erosion, soil quality is affected by other aspects of agriculture.These impacts include compaction, loss of soil structure,nutrient degradation.
Soil Properties
  • Texture
  • Structure
  • Consistence
  • Partiole Density
  • Bulk Density
  • Pore Space
  • Atterberg Limits
  • Soil Color and Soil Permeability.
Micro Nutrients

Boron- Terminal buds die, witches' broom form.


Copper- Leaves are dark green, plant is stunted


Iron- Yellowing occurs between the veins of young leaves.


Manganese- Yellowing occurs between the veins of young leaves. Pattern is not as distinct as with Iron.


Molybdenum- General yellowing of older leaves(bottom of plants). The rest of the plant is often green.

Zinc- Terminal leaves may be rosetted and yellowing occurs between the veins of the new leaves.

Macro Nutrients

Calcium-New leaves are distorted, irregularly shaped


Nitrogen- General yellowing of older leaves(bottom of the plant), rest of plant is is often light green


Magnesium-Older leaves turn yellow at edge, leaving a green arrowhead shape in the center of the leaf.


Phosphorus-Leaf tip looks burnt, older leaves turning a dark green or reddish purple.


Potassium-Older leaves may wilt, looked scorched, Interveinal chlorosis begins at the base, scorching inward from leaf margins.


Sulfur- younger leaves turn yellow first, sometimes followed by older leaves


Properties of water-Its attraction to polar molecules,High-specific heat,High heat of vaporization,The lower density of ice, and High polarity.

Types of Water Pollution
  1. Nutrients Pollution- some wastewater, fertilizers and sewage contain high levels of nutrients.If they end up in water bodies, they encourage algae and weed growth in the water. This will make the water undrinkable, and even clog filters. Too much algae will also use up all the oxygen in the water, and other water organisms in the water will die out of oxygen starvation.
Nutrient pollution in water

2.Surface water pollution-Surface water includes natural water found on the earth's surface, like rivers, lakes, lagoons and oceans. Hazardous substances coming into contact with this surface water, dissolving or mixing physically with the water can be called surface water pollution.

Surface water pollution

3. Oxygen depleting-Water bodies have micro-organisms. These include aerobic and anaerobic organisms. When too much biodegradable matter (things that easily decay) end up in water, it encourages more microorganism growth, and they use up more oxygen in the water. If oxygen is depleted, aerobic organisms die, and anaerobic organisms grow more to produce harmful toxins such as ammonia and sulfides.

4. Ground Water Pollution-When humans apply pesticides and chemicals to soils, they are washed deep into the ground by rainwater. This gets to underground water, causing pollution underground. This means when we dig wells and bore holes to get water from underground, it needs to be checked for ground water pollution.

5. Chemical Water Pollution-Many industries and farmers work with chemicals that end up in water. This is common with Point-source Pollution. These include chemicals that are used to control weeds, insects and pests. Metals and solvents from industries can pollute water bodies. These are poisonous to many forms of aquatic life and may slow their development, make them infertile and kill them.

6. Oil Spillage-Oil spills usually have only a localized effect on wildlife but can spread for miles. The oil can cause the death to many fish and get stuck to the feathers of seabirds causing them to lose their ability to fly

oil spillage
Water Treatment


  1. Sedimentation- gravitationally settles heavy suspended material.
  2. Boiling Water for 15 to 20 minutes kills 99.9% of all living things and vaporizes most chemicals. Minerals, metals, solids and the contamination from the cooking container become more concentrated.
  3. Distillation boils and recondenses the water, but many chemicals vaporize and recondense in concentration in the output water. It is also expensive to boil & cool water.
  4. Ultraviolet Light is a good bactericide, but has no residual kill, and works only in clearly filtered water. Still in its infancy stage is a new technology involving super white light.
  1. Chlorine is common, cheap, but extremely toxic. It does not decrease physical or chemical contamination, it does increase colesterol formations, is a carcinogen, and causes heart disease.
  2. Bromine, used in pools and spas, doesn't smell or taste as bad and doesn't kill bacteria very well.
  3. Iodine is not practical, and is mostly used by campers.
  4. Hydrogen Peroxide kills bacteria with oxygen, is chemically made and is very toxic. It is used in emergencies.
  5. Silver is an effective bactericide but a cumulative poison which concentrates and doesn't evaporate.
  6. Nontoxic Organic Acids should be used with caution in large water plants only.
  7. Lime and Mild Alkaline Agents should also be used with caution only by large water plants, or only for laundry.
  8. Neutralizing Chemicals react with the unwanted chemicals and produce outgases and a sediment, but levels of need vary.
  9. Coagulation-Flocculation adds chemicals which lump together suspended particles for filtration or separation.
  10. ION Exchange exchanges sodium from salt for calcium or magnesium, using either glauconite (greensand), precipitated synthetic organic resins, or gel zeolite, thus softening the water. Minerals, metals, chemicals or odors are not affected, and the water is salty to drink
  1. Slow Sand of 1 cubic meter passes about 2 liters/min, and does a limited bacteria removal.
  2. Pressure Sand of 1 cubic meter passes about 40gpm and must be backwashed daily.
  3. Diatomaceous Earth removes small suspended particles at high flow rates, must be daily backwashed and is expensive.
  4. Porous Stone/Ceramic filters are small but expensive, and do not effect chemicals, bacteria or odors.
  5. Paper or Cloth filters are disposable and filter to one micron, but do not have much capacity.
  6. CHARCOAL:-COMPRESSED CHARCOAL/CARBON BLOCK is the best type of charcoal filter, can remove chemicals and lead, but is easily clogged, so should be used with a sediment prefilter.
  7. -GRANULAR CHARCOAL is cheaper, but water can flow around the granules without being treated.
  8. -POWDERED CHARCOAL is a very fine dust useful for spot cleaning larger bodies of water, but is messy and can pass through some filters and be consumed.
  9. Reverse Osmosis uses a membrane with microscopic holes that require 4 to 8 times the volume of water processed to wash it in order to remove minerals and salt, but not necessarily chemicals and bacteria.
  10. Enzymes &Bacteria combined can remove contaminants, reduce sludge, and even digest oil.
  11. Plants There are numerous plants, animals and organisms that are quite effective in filtering water
  1. Aeration sprays water into the air to raise the oxygen content, to break down odors, and to balance the dissolved gases. However, it takes space, is expensive, and picks up contaminants from the air.
  2. Ozone is a very good bactericide, using highly charged oxygen molecules to kill microorganisms on contact, and to oxidize and flocculate iron, manganese and other dissolved minerals for post-filtration and back washing.
  3. Electronic Purification and Dissolved Oxygen Generation creates super oxygenated water in a dissolved state that lowers the surface tension of the water and effectively treats all three types of contamination: physical, chemical and biological.
Water Issues
  • The availability of water is a concern for some countries. But the scarcity at the heart of the global water crisis is rooted in power, poverty and inequality, not in physical availability.
Scale of The Water Problem

Consider the following

  • Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water
  • 2.6 billion people lack basic sanitation
  • Lack of water is closely related to poverty:
  • Almost two in three people lacking access to clean water survive on less than $2 a day, with one in three living on less than $1 a day
  • More than 660 million people without sanitation live on less than $2 a day, and more than 385 million on less than $1 a day.
  • 443 million school days are lost each year from water-related illness
  • Access to piped water into the household averages about 85% for the wealthiest 20% of the population, compared with 25% for the poorest 20%.
  • 1.8 billion people who have access to a water source within 1 kilometer, but not in their house or yard, consume around 20 liters per day. In the United Kingdom the average person uses more than 50 liters of water a day flushing toilets (where average daily water usage is about 150 liters a day. The highest average water use in the world is in the US, at 600 liters day.)
  • Close to half of all people in developing countries suffer at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits
  • Lack of water means women spend many hours collecting water every day, sometimes from many miles away
  • Millions of women spending several hours a day collecting water
  • To these human costs can be added the massive economic waste associated with the water and sanitation deficit ,The costs associated with health spending, productivity losses and labor diversions are greatest in some of the poorest countries. Sub-Saharan Africa loses about 5% of GDP, or some $28.4 billion annually, a figure that exceeds total aid flows and debt relief to the region in 2003.
Atoms and Ions

Atomic Theory

Greece 400 B.C.

Democritus= If you cut a rock an infinite amount of times is the smallest piece still a rock.(*Everything had its own unique atom*)


Alchemy: Study of making base metals into gold

Late 1700s-1800s

Isaac Newton- Proposed a mechanical universe with small solid masses in motion. (1704)

Isaac Newton

John Dalton-Proposed an "atomic theory" with spherical solid atoms based upon measurable properties of mass. (Father of Atomic Theory)


Michael Faraday Studied the effect of electricity on solutions, coined term "electrolysis" as a splitting of molecules with electricity, developed laws of electrolysis. Faraday himself was not a proponent of atomism.

Michael Faraday

Dmitri Mendeleev Arranged elements into 7 groups with similar properties. He discovered that the properties of elements "were periodic functions of the their atomic weights". This became known as the Periodic Law.

Dmitri Mendeleev

James Clerk Maxwell Proposed electric and magnetic fields filled the void.

James Clerk Maxwell

Sir William Crookes Discovered cathode rays had the following properties: travel in straight lines from the cathode; cause glass to fluoresce; impart a negative charge to objects they strike; are deflected by electric fields and magnets to suggest a negative charge; cause pinwheels in their path to spin indicating they have mass. (1879)


(1886) E. Goldstein Used a CRT to study "canal rays" which had electrical and magnetic properties opposite of an electron.


(1894) G.J. Stoney Proposed that electricity was made of discrete negative particles he called electrons.


(1895) Wilhelm Roentgen- Using a CRT he observed that nearby chemicals glowed. Further experiments found very penetrating rays coming from the CRT that were not deflected by a magnetic field. He named them "X-rays".


(1896) Henri Becquerel While studying the effect of x-rays on photographic film, he discovered some chemicals spontaneously decompose and give off very penetrating rays.


(1897) J.J. Thomson Used a CRT to experimentally determine the charge to mass ratio (e/m) of an electron =1.759 x 10 8 coulombs/gram.

(1897)J.J. Thomson Studied "canal rays" and found they were associated with the proton H + .


(1898) Rutherford Studied radiations emitted from uranium and thorium and named them alpha and beta.

(1898) Marie Sklodowska Curie Studied uranium and thorium and called their spontaneous decay process "radioactivity". She and her husband Pierre also discovered the radioactive elements polonium and radium.

Marie Sklodowska Curie

(1900) Soddy Observed spontaneous disintegration of radioactive elements into variants he called "isotopes" or totally new elements, discovered "half-life", made initial calculations on energy released during decay.

(1900) Max Planck used the idea of quanta (discrete units of energy) to explain hot glowing matter.


(1903) Nagaoka Postulated a "Saturnian" model of the atom with flat rings of electrons revolving around a positively charged particle.


(1904) Abegg Discovered that inert gases had a stable electron configuration which lead to their chemical inactivity.


(1905) Albert Einstein Published the famous equation E=mc 2

Albert Einstein

(1906) Hans Geiger Developed an electrical device to "click" when hit with alpha particles.


(1909) R.A. Millikan Oil drop experiment determined the charge (e=1.602 x 10 -19 coulomb) and the mass (m = 9.11 x 10 -28 gram) of an electron.


(1911) Ernest Rutherford Using alpha particles as atomic bullets, probed the atoms in a piece of thin (0.00006 cm) gold foil . He established that the nucleus was: very dense,very small and positively charged. He also assumed that the electrons were located outside the nucleus.


(1914) H.G.J. Moseley Using x-ray tubes, determined the charges on the nuclei of most atoms. He wrote"The atomic number of an element is equal to the number of protons in the nucleus". This work was used to reorganize the periodic table based upon atomic number instead of atomic mass.


(1919) Aston Discovered the existence of isotopes through the use of a mass spectrograph.


(1922) Niels Bohr Developed an explanation of atomic structure that underlies regularities of the periodic table of elements. His atomic model had atoms built up of successive orbital shells of electrons.

Niels Bohr
  1. Ions: They are Atoms or groups of Atoms with positive or negative charge.
  2. Cat-ions: has lost an electron or electrons and therefore has a positive charge. (Ex: Mg2+)
  3. An-ion: gained electron or electrons and therefore has a negative charge.
  4. Ions have (+) or (-) charge written as a super script

Ionic Compounds- a metal and a non-metal combined, the charges cancel each other out and add up to equal 0. (-)=(+)


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