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Lakes—Discharges To

Surface Water Hydrology

  1. Laurel Phoenix

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.sw541

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Phoenix, L. 2005. Lakes—Discharges To. Water Encyclopedia. 3:281–284.

Author Information

  1. Green Bay, Wisconsin

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


Lakes have suffered from a long history of receiving pollutants from various sources. These pollutants degrade water quality, with implications for aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems as well as for a variety of issues for human populations dependent on that water and those ecosystems. The degree to which these pollutants degrade the lake depends on the amount and types of pollutants as well as the physical characteristics of the lake. For an introductory overview of how discharges to lakes are harmful, the pollutant sources and how pollutants are transported into the lake are described. The physical characteristics that determine the assimilative capacity of a lake are then covered. Finally, the effects that different pollutants have on lakes and their dependent ecosystems are explained as well as the ramifications for aquatic species, birds, wildlife, and humans.


  • water chemistry;
  • pollution;
  • lakes;
  • ecosystem;
  • water quality;
  • discharges;
  • pollutant transport and fate;
  • atmospheric deposition;
  • nonpoint source pollution;
  • effluent;
  • invasive species;
  • acid rain;
  • stratification;
  • eutrophication;
  • biomagnification