The value of water lies in its usefulness for a wide variety of purposes, and the quality determines its acceptability for a particular use. Therefore, a quality problem occurs when water is contaminated to a level where it is no longer acceptable for a particular use. Water quality criteria are often used to determine acceptability. Potential water pollutants derived from agricultural waste can be classified as (a) nutrients,
(b) oxygen-demanding materials, (c) bacteria that indicate potential presence of pathogens, (d) sediment, suspended or dissolved materials, and (e) agri-chemicals and other organic and inorganic materials.
For water quality parameters to have meaning, they must be related to one or more beneficial uses of water. The uses include (1) domestic, industrial, and agricultural water supplies; (2) swimming, fishing, boating, and other forms of recreational use; and (3) commercial navigation. Agricultural wastes are not likely to adversely affect commercial navigation.
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