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Hot Topics

These water-related hot topics are available to inform and engage the students with environmental discussions.

  • Clean Water Act
  • Water pollution became a big issue in the late 1960’s when thousands of dead fish were being found washed up on shores and some lakes even caught on fire. An effective means was needed to protect and clean the nation’s waters, so Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972.

    An effective means was needed to protect and clean the nation’s waters, so Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972.

    An effective means was needed to protect and clean the nation’s waters, so Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972.

  • Download Clean Water Act
  • Earth Day – Then and Now
  • Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970.  Over 200 million people from 140 countries now join the celebration. Each year, Earth Day is a chance to rekindle enthusiasm and public involvement in projects that protect and enhance our environment.

  • Download Earth Day – Then and Now
  • Groundwater
  • Contrary to popular belief, groundwater is not underground rivers. It is water between soil and rock particles in the ground, like water in a sponge.

  • Download Groundwater
  • Healthy Watersheds
  • A watershed is an area of land that water flows across or under on its way to a stream, river, or lake. The Des Moines area is in both the Raccoon and Des Moines River Watersheds. The water that drains off of the land eventually ends up in one of these rivers.

  • Download Healthy Watersheds
  • Hazmat 101
  • If someone dumped a poisonous substance into a community’s water supply, it would be considered a serious crime and could even lead to a public emergency notification. Yet, when someone dumps a hazardous material like paint thinner down the drain, a can of oil on the ground, or an old battery in a ditch, the impact on our environment, particularly our water resources, could be just as disastrous. Yet, no news flashes are issued.

  • Download Hazmat 101
  • Parking Lots that Prevent Pollution
  • Parking lots can be a source of pollution. Cars, with small oil leaks, sit in the parking lot all day. Once the car drives away there is a small shiny spots left on the pavement. Then the rain comes. The rain washes the parking lot clean, but where did the oil go?

  • Download Parking Lots that Prevent Pollution
  • Rain Gardens
  • For many people, a beautiful garden is a source of great pleasure. Imagine a beautiful garden that can also help to protect our environment!

  • Download Rain Gardens
  • Storm Water Management
  • Rainfall runoff management involves taking steps to prevent flooding, but also includes efforts to minimize pollutants entering storm sewers, streams, lakes and rivers.

  • Download Storm Water Management
  • Tracking Water Quality Clues
  • What are some of the signs that a river or stream has poor quality water?  People monitoring bodies of water look at a variety of factors that contribute to a stream’s health.

  • Download Tracking Water Quality Clues
  • Wastewater Treatment
  • Water that goes down the drain, called waste water, is not the most pleasant topic to discuss, but most students are very curious about this water that goes down their sinks, showers, and toilet drains. What happens to it after it leaves our homes and businesses?

  • Download Wastewater Treatment
  • Wondering About Wetlands
  • Wetlands are just that: “wet land.” The land is covered by shallow water during at least part of the year and is often located between dry land and deeper water like rivers, lakes and oceans.

  • Download Wetlands
Dewey Fact

Water regulates both the earth's temperature and our body temperature. It also carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, cushions joints, protects organs and tissues, and removes wastes from our bodies.