There are many different types of water pollution and all have a different adverse effect on the environment.
- Heavy metals from industrial processes can accumulate in nearby lakes and rivers. These are toxic to marine life such as fish and shellfish, and can affect the rest of the food chain. This means that entire animal communities can be badly affected by this type of pollutant.
- Industrial waste often contains many toxic compounds that damage the health of aquatic animals and those who eat them. Some toxins affect the reproductive success of marine life and can therefore disrupt the community structure of an aquatic environment.
- Microbial pollutants from sewage often result in infectious diseases that infect aquatic life and terrestrial life through drinking water. This often increases the number of mortalities seen within an environment.
- Organic matter and nutrients causes an increase in aerobic algae and depletes oxygen from the water column. This is called eutrophication and causes the suffocation of fish and other aquatic organisms.
- Sulfate particles from acid rain change the pH of water making it more acidic, this damages the health of marine life in the rivers and lakes it contaminates, and often increases the number of mortalities within an environment.
- Suspended particles can often reduce the amount of sunlight penetrating the water, disrupting the growth of photosynthetic plants and micro-organisms. This has subsequent effects on the rest of the aquatic community that depend on these organisms to survive.