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absorption - The uptake of water, other fluids, or dissolved chemicals by a cell or an organism (as tree roots absorb dissolved nutrients in soil.)
acid - A corrosive solution with a pH less than 7.
acid deposition - A complex chemical and atmospheric phenomenon that occurs when emissions of sulfur and nitrogen compounds and other substances are transformed by chemical processes in the atmosphere, often far from the original sources, and then deposited on earth in either wet or dry form. The wet forms, popularly called "acid rain," can fall to earth as rain, snow, or fog. The dry forms are acidic gases or particulates.
acid rain: (See: acid deposition.)
adsorption - Removal of a pollutant from air or water by collecting the pollutant on the surface of a solid material; e.g., an advanced method of treating waste in which activated carbon removes organic matter from waste-water.
algae - Simple rootless plants that grow in sunlit waters in proportion to the amount of available nutrients. They can affect water quality adversely by lowering the dissolved oxygen in the water. They are food for fish and small aquatic animals.
algal blooms - Sudden spurts of algal growth, which can affect water quality adversely and indicate potentially hazardous changes in local water chemistry.
aqueous - Something made up of or dissolved in water.
aquifer - A natural underground layer, often of sand or gravel, that contains water.
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benthic/benthos - An organism that feeds on the sediment at the bottom of a water body such as an ocean, lake, or river.
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Clean Water Act - The law that establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into waters of the United States. The Clean Water Act prohibits unpermitted discharges of any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters and recognizes the critical problems posed by nonpoint source pollution. Section 320 of the Clean Water Act directs EPA to develop plans for attaining or maintaining water quality in estuaries. This includes protection of public water supplies and the protection and propagation of a balanced, indigenous population of shellfish, fish, and wildlife, and allows recreational activities in and on the water.
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dissolved oxygen - Microscopic bubbles of oxygen that are mixed in water. Dissolved oxygen is necessary for healthy lakes, rivers, and estuaries. Fish will drown in water if the dissolved oxygen levels get too low (see hypoxia).
drainage basin - The land area that gathers and carries surface runoff and groundwater to a particular stream, river or lake.
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estuary – A semi-enclosed body of water that has a free connection with the open sea and within which seawater (from the ocean) is diluted measurably with freshwater that is derived from land drainage (i.e., from the Connecticut River).
eutrophication – A condition in aquatic ecosystems where high nutrient concentrations stimulate blooms of algae, thereby resulting in low dissolved oxygen levels in the water.
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fauna - Animal live of a specific region.
flora - Plant organisms of a specific region.
freshwater – Water from rivers, lakes, reservoirs and underground streams.
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ground water - The supply of fresh water found beneath the Earth's surface, usually in aquifers, which supply wells and springs.
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hydrology - The scientific study of the properties, distribution, and effects of water on the earth's surface, in the soil and underlying rocks, and in the atmosphere.
hypoxia - Low dissolved oxygen concentrations in water that result in significant, adverse ecological effects in the bottom water habitats of the Sound.
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inflow - Entry of extraneous rain water into a sewer system from sources other than infiltration, such as basement drains, manholes, storm drains, and street washing.
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lagoon - 1. A shallow pond where sunlight, bacterial action, and oxygen work to purify wastewater; also used for storage of wastewater or spent nuclear fuel rods. 2. Shallow body of water, often separated from the sea by coral reefs or sandbars.

Long Island Sound - An estuary between Long Island, New York and Connecticut where the Housatonic, Connecticut and Thames are the three main rivers flowing into it.
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marsh - A type of wetland that does not accumulate appreciable peat deposits and is dominated by herbaceous vegetation. Marshes may be either fresh or saltwater, tidal or non-tidal. See wetland.
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nitrate - A compound containing nitrogen that can exist in the atmosphere or as a dissolved gas in water and which can have harmful effects on humans and animals. Nitrates in water can cause severe illness in infants and domestic animals. A plant nutrient and inorganic fertilizer, nitrate is found in septic systems, animal feed lots, agricultural fertilizers, manure, industrial waste waters, sanitary landfills, and garbage dumps.
non-point source - Diffuse pollution sources (i.e. without a single point of origin or not introduced into a receiving stream from a specific outlet). The pollutants are generally carried off the land by storm water. Common non-point sources are agriculture, forestry, urban, mining, construction, dams, channels, land disposal, saltwater intrusion, and city streets.
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point source - A stationary location or fixed facility from which pollutants are discharged; any single identifiable source of pollution; e.g. a pipe, ditch, ship, ore pit, factory smokestack.
pollution - Generally, the presence of a substance in the environment that because of its chemical composition or quantity prevents the functioning of natural processes and produces undesirable environmental and health effects. Under the Clean Water Act, for example, the term has been defined as the man-made or man-induced alteration of the physical, biological, chemical, and radiological integrity of water and other media.
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riparian habitat
- Areas adjacent to rivers and streams with a differing density, diversity, and productivity of plant and animal species relative to nearby uplands.
riparian rights - Entitlement of a land owner to certain uses of water on or bordering the property, including the right to prevent diversion or misuse of upstream waters. Generally a matter of state law.
Riprap- a loose assemblage of broken stones erected in water or on soft ground as foundation.
river - Flowing body of water.
runoff – Water that flows across the surface of the land and drains into a water body.
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salinity - A measure of the salt concentration of water, usually measured in parts per thousand (ppt). Higher salinity means more dissolved salts.
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trap rock - Any dark-colored fine-grained nongranitic rock, such as a basalt, peridotite, diabase, or fine-grained gabbro; also applied to any such rock used as crushed stone.
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urban runoff - Storm water from city streets and adjacent domestic or commercial properties that carries pollutants of various kinds into the sewer systems and receiving waters.
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volatile organic compound (VOC) - Any organic compound that participates in atmospheric photochemical reactions except those designated by EPA as having negligible photochemical reactivity.
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wastewater - The spent or used water from a home, community, farm, or industry that contains dissolved or suspended matter.Water Pollution: The presence in water of enough harmful or objectionable material to damage the water's quality.
watershed - Every body of water (e.g., rivers, lakes, ponds, streams and estuaries) has a watershed. The watershed is the area of land that drains or sheds water into a specific receiving waterbody, such as a lake or a river. As rainwater or melted snow runs downhill in the watershed, it collects and transports sediment and other materials and deposits them into the receiving waterbody.
water Table - The top water surface of an unconfined aquifer at atmospheric pressure.
wetland - The transitional zone between land and submerged systems that naturally store flood Water, protect the land from erosion and storm, filter pollutants from runoff, and provide habitat for wildlife.
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EPA Website
DEP Website
Long Island Sound Study
U.S. Geologic Survey