The start of WWll caused a higher demand in food, which motivated many Americans to start farming. However, this sudden increase in agriculture also increased the usage of fertilizers and pesticides while also introducing practices like tillage and irrigation. When farmers erode the ground in order to plant or harvest crops, soil erosion can occur dragging the harmful substances in fertilizers into local rivers and streams.
The Federal Water Pollution Act of 1948 was the first major U.S law that addressed the issue of water pollution in the U.S. During this time, the urban growth had lead to an obvious issue of water pollution in local rivers and streams, causing congress to confront the issue. This law mostly helped initiate public awareness and was aiming to contribute technical research to help stop local water pollution, but was poorly designed and was found to be largely ineffective. This set the stage for many additional laws to be passed in later years like the Clean Water Act of 1972.
Exxon Valdez was a very large oil tank located in Prince William Sound near Alaska. This carrier was holding 1.26 million barrels of oil at the the time and spilled over one fifth of its total cargo into the ocean. Nearly 30 years later, pockets of crude oil still remain in some places. This spill caused the death of multiple animal species and marine life that were trapped or got sick from the oil, while the cleaning process of dispersing hot water at a high pressure also resulted in many animal casualties.
The contents of the pacific garbage patch was first investigated by scientist Charles Moore when sailing back to his home in Los Angles. It is located between Hawaii and California and contains the worlds largest collection of plastic, larger then Texas. This polluting water is causing marine life to confuse this plastic with food and is contaminating the ocean with multiple bacteria's. As a result of this, because plastic as entered the marine food web, there's a chance it will reach to us humans.
Factories and producers have a large effect on the pollution of water, all starting from the industrial revolution when pollutants were first release directly into rivers and streams. Heavy metals, solvents, and sludge from sewage is found present in the global water supply every year. According to an article by the History channel, "... around 70 percent of China’s lakes and rivers are now polluted from industrial waste, leaving 300 million people ‘forced to rely on polluted water supplies.'” This shocking yet real situation is true for many areas around the world including the U.S.