Temperature of Liquid Waste Discharge
The environmental safety page Water and Environmental Training described the importance of avoiding the contamination of watercourses such as rivers, streams and oceans in order to prevent harm to the health and wellbeing of aquatic creatures.
Preventing water pollution and contamination will come about through a combination of management attitudes and directives, compliance with legislation, improved monitoring and control procedures, and the provision of environmental health and safety training to workers and putting them forward for qualifications like the NEBOSH Environmental Certificate for example.
The primary focus of water pollution, or more pertinently the prevention of it, usually revolves around the actual hazardous material being discharged in terms of what it is, its toxicity and what damage it can do. However one simple factor which is often overlooked is that of temperature. Non-hazardous liquid waste, even ordinary water, can be lethal for fish and other creatures living in the water if the temperature is either extremely hot or extremely cold when it comes into contact with them.
This danger will in most cases obviously only exist for those right next to the waste outlet, as hot or cold water released into a river, stream or ocean will quickly mix with the large volume of water and will not have an impact on raising the overall temperature. It will however be a problem when hot or cold liquid is released to a small, enclosed volume of water. A company may occasionally release a small amount of waste water into a pond for example, which can dramatically alter the temperature and cause harm to fish or other creatures living in the water such as frogs and tadpoles.
Even if the temperature of the water does not cause immediate damage to the health of life forms, regular discharges will over time alter the local ecosystem such as increasing the amount of algae and causing problems for other species.