Soil and Water Conservation Merit badge

Soil and Water Conservation Merit Badge

Understanding the interaction between soil and water is essential for maintaining a healthy ecosystem, and the Soil and Water Conservation Merit Badge is designed to highlight this importance.

In this article, we explore the key components of this merit badge, often pursued by members of youth organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America. This merit badge focuses on the crucial role of soil and water conservation practices in sustaining life, agriculture, and overall environmental quality.

It offers young minds an opportunity to learn about the complex science of soil health, erosion control, and water conservation. Emphasizing practical knowledge, this badge also encourages individuals to engage with local conservation initiatives and understand the global implications of their actions.

This insightful journey helps foster a strong sense of responsibility towards environmental sustainability. As we delve into the details of the Soil and Water Conservation Merit Badge, we hope to ignite a passion for conservation and encourage responsible stewardship of our planet’s vital resources.

Soil and Water Conservation Merit badge Requirements

1. Do the following:
(a) Tell what soil is. Tell how it is formed.
(b) Describe three kinds of soil. Tell how they are different.
(c) Name the three main plant nutrients in fertile soil. Tell how they can be put back when used up.
2. Do the following:
(a) Define soil erosion.
(b) Tell why it is important. Tell how it affects you.
(c) Name three kinds of soil erosion. Describe each.
(d) Take pictures or draw two kinds of soil erosion.
3. Do the following:
(a) Tell what is meant by conservation practices.
(b) Describe the effect of three kinds of erosion-control practices.
(c) Take pictures or draw three kinds of erosion-control practices.
4. Do the following:
(a) Explain what a watershed is.
(b) Outline the smallest watershed that you can find on a contour map.
(c) Then outline on your map, as far as possible, the next larger watershed which also has the smallest in it.
(d) Explain what a river basin is. Tell why all people living in a river basin should be concerned about land and water use in it.
(e) Explain what an aquifer is and why it can be important to communities.
5. Do the following:
(a) Make a drawing to show the hydrologic cycle.
(b) Show by demonstration at least two of the following actions of water in relation to soil: percolation, capillary action, precipitation, evaporation, transpiration.
(c) Explain how removal of vegetation will affect the way water runs off a watershed.
(d) Tell how uses of forest, range, and farmland affect usable water supply.
(e) Explain how industrial use affects water supply.
6. Do the following:
(a) Tell what is meant by “water pollution.”
(b) Describe common sources of water pollution and explain the effects of each.
(c) Tell what is meant by “primary water treatment,” “secondary waste treatment,” and “biochemical oxygen demand.”
(d) Make a drawing showing the principles of complete waste treatment.
7. Do TWO of the following:
(a) Make a trip to TWO of the following places. Write a report of more than 500 words about the soil and water and energy conservation practices you saw.
(1) An agricultural experiment
(2) A managed forest or a woodlot, range, or pasture
(3) A wildlife refuge or a fish or game management area
(4) A conservation-managed farm or ranch
(5) A managed watershed
(6) A waste-treatment plant
(7) A public drinking water treatment plant
(8) An industry water use installation
(9) A desalinization plant

(b) Plant 100 trees, bushes and/or vines for a good purpose.
(c) Seed an area of at least one-fifth acre for some worthwhile conservation purposes, using suitable grasses or legumes alone or in a mixture.
(d) Study a soil survey report. Describe the things in it. On tracing paper over any of the soil maps, outline an area with three or more different kinds of soil. List each kind of soil by full name and map symbol.
(e) Make a list of places in your neighborhood, camps, school ground, or park that have erosion, sedimentation, or pollution problems. Describe how these could be corrected through individual or group action.
(f) Carry out any other soil and water conservation project approved by your merit badge counselor.

The Answer for Requirement Number 1a

Soil is a complex mixture of weathered rock particles, organic material, water, air, and living organisms. It is an essential component of land resources, agricultural development, and ecological sustainability.

Soil is composed of five main components:

  1. Mineral matter: Derived from weathered rocks and contributes about 45% to the total soil volume. They provide the soil with essential nutrients.
  2. Organic matter: Also called humus, it comes from decomposed plant and animal material. It contributes about 5% to the total soil volume and is vital for soil fertility.
  3. Water: Soil contains varying amounts of water, depending on the soil type and amount of recent precipitation. It contributes up to 25% of the total soil volume.
  4. Air: Air in the soil, also up to 25% of the total soil volume, is critical for the survival of microorganisms, insects, and plant roots.
  5. Living organisms: These include bacteria, fungi, worms, insects, and other microscopic creatures. They play a crucial role in breaking down organic matter and recycling nutrients back into the soil.

Soil formation is a process that takes hundreds to thousands of years. It begins with weathering, which is the breakdown of rocks into smaller particles due to the effects of wind, water, ice, and changes in temperature.

There are several factors involved in soil formation:

  1. Parent material: This is the material from which soil is formed. It can be rock that has weathered in place, or material that has been transported in from elsewhere (like sand, silt, or clay) by wind, water, or ice.
  2. Climate: Temperature and moisture significantly affect how much and how fast weathering occurs. They also influence the types of plants and animals living in the area, whose remains can contribute to the soil.
  3. Living organisms: Plants contribute organic matter to the soil. Their roots also help to break up rocks while animals and microorganisms help to mix the soil and enhance its structure.
  4. Topography: The shape of the land (hills, valleys, slopes, etc.) affects how water flows over and through the soil, and can thus impact its formation.
  5. Time: The length of time the soil has been forming influences how developed the soil profile is. Some soils may be thousands of years old, while others may have begun forming relatively recently.

Through these processes, different types of soils are formed with varying characteristics in terms of texture, structure, color, mineral content, and capacity to retain water and nutrients.

The Answer for Requirement Number 1b

Soil can be generally classified into three main types based on its texture – sand, silt, and clay. These classifications are based on the size of the soil particles. Here is a description of each soil type and their differences:

  1. Sandy soil:
    • Particle Size: Large, visible to the naked eye.
    • Feel: Gritty.
    • Water Drainage: High. Water drains quickly due to large pore spaces between particles, which can result in lower water-holding capacity.
    • Nutrient Holding Capacity: Low. Sandy soil does not retain nutrients well because they can be easily washed away with water.
    • Plant Growth: Challenging, as the quick drainage can lead to drought-like conditions. However, it’s suitable for crops that need well-drained soils, like cacti and succulents.
  2. Silt soil:
    • Particle Size: Intermediate, smaller than sand but larger than clay particles.
    • Feel: Smooth, like flour when dry, and slippery when wet.
    • Water Drainage: Moderate. Silt soil retains more water than sandy soil due to smaller pore spaces, but it doesn’t hold water as much as clay soil.
    • Nutrient Holding Capacity: Moderate to high. Silt soil has a higher capacity to hold nutrients than sandy soil.
    • Plant Growth: Good for a variety of plants due to its ability to retain water and nutrients.
  3. Clay soil:
    • Particle Size: Very small, not visible to the naked eye.
    • Feel: Sticky and plastic-like when wet, hard when dry.
    • Water Drainage: Low. Clay soil has tiny, compacted particles with small pore spaces, which lead to poor drainage and a high water-holding capacity.
    • Nutrient Holding Capacity: High. Clay soil can hold onto nutrients tightly.
    • Plant Growth: Can be challenging due to its poor drainage and aeration, which can suffocate plant roots. However, if managed properly, it can support a wide range of crops due to its high nutrient content.

Here is a tabular representation of this information:

Soil TypeParticle SizeFeelWater DrainageNutrient Holding CapacityPlant Growth
SandyLargeGrittyHighLowChallenging, suitable for well-drained crops
SiltIntermediateSmooth when dry, slippery when wetModerateModerate to HighGood for a variety of plants
ClayVery smallSticky when wet, hard when dryLowHighCan be challenging due to poor drainage, but high nutrient content

Remember, most soils are not purely sand, silt, or clay, but rather a combination of these. The proportions of sand, silt, and clay particles can greatly affect the soil’s properties, leading to various “soil classes,” such as sandy loam, silty clay, etc. These mixed soils can often be more suitable for plant growth than any of the pure soil types.

The Answer for Requirement Number 1c

The three primary nutrients that plants need from the soil are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). These are the macronutrients that plants need in the largest quantities for their growth and development.

  1. Nitrogen (N): Nitrogen is a vital part of amino acids, proteins, and chlorophyll in plants. It is essential for promoting lush, green, vigorous growth, especially in the leaves and stems.
  2. Phosphorus (P): Phosphorus is an essential component of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), a molecule that stores and transfers energy within the plant. It also promotes root development, flowering, and fruiting.
  3. Potassium (K): Potassium is crucial for regulating plant metabolism and improving disease resistance. It helps in the activation of enzymes, osmosis, the opening and closing of stomata, and the regulation of water use.

When these nutrients get depleted in the soil after being absorbed by plants, they can be replenished in several ways:

  • Adding compost or manure: This is a natural way to replenish soil nutrients. Both compost and manure are rich in essential nutrients and can improve the soil’s fertility when added regularly.
  • Planting cover crops or green manures: Some plants, such as legumes, are capable of fixing nitrogen from the air into the soil. After the growing season, these plants can be plowed back into the soil, where they decompose and release nutrients.
  • Crop rotation: Different crops take up different nutrients from the soil. By rotating crops, certain nutrients taken up by one crop can be replenished by the next crop, thereby maintaining the overall nutrient balance in the soil.
  • Applying chemical fertilizers: These are commercially available products that contain specific proportions of N, P, K, and sometimes other nutrients. They can quickly replenish nutrients in the soil, but they should be used responsibly to prevent pollution and damage to soil structure.

Here is a tabular representation of this information:

NutrientRole in Plant GrowthMethods to Replenish
Nitrogen (N)Essential for amino acids, proteins, and chlorophyll. Promotes lush, green growth.Adding compost or manure, planting cover crops or green manures, crop rotation, applying chemical fertilizers
Phosphorus (P)Essential component of ATP. Promotes root development, flowering, and fruiting.Adding compost or manure, crop rotation, applying chemical fertilizers
Potassium (K)Regulates plant metabolism and improves disease resistance. Involved in the activation of enzymes, osmosis, stomata function, and water regulation.Adding compost or manure, crop rotation, applying chemical fertilizers

It’s important to note that different soils may require different nutrient amendments based on their existing fertility and the specific requirements of the plants being grown. Soil testing is often recommended to accurately determine nutrient needs.

The Answer for Requirement Number 2a,b,c,d

a) Soil erosion is the process by which the top layer of soil is worn away or removed from an area. This can occur through natural processes like wind, water, and ice, as well as human activities such as deforestation, overgrazing, construction, and poor agricultural practices.

b) Soil erosion is important for a few reasons:

  • Soil fertility: The top layer of soil is typically the most fertile because it contains the most organic matter and nutrients. When this layer is eroded, the remaining soil can be less productive for plant growth.
  • Ecosystem disruption: Soil erosion can disrupt habitats and contribute to biodiversity loss.
  • Water pollution: When soil erodes, it often ends up in waterways. The sediments can pollute water resources, affect aquatic ecosystems, and reduce the capacity of reservoirs.
  • Infrastructure damage: Soil erosion can lead to landslides and other soil movements that can damage infrastructure like roads and buildings.

As for how soil erosion affects you, if you’re a farmer or gardener, it can directly impact your ability to grow plants. Even as a general member of society, the effects of soil erosion can impact your community through increased flood risk, water pollution, and effects on local ecosystems.

c) There are three primary types of soil erosion:

  1. Water Erosion: This is the most common type of soil erosion, which can happen when raindrops hit the soil (splash erosion) or when water flows over the soil surface (sheet and rill erosion). Over time, these processes can lead to the formation of larger gullies.
  2. Wind Erosion: This occurs in dry, bare areas where loose soil particles can be picked up by wind. It’s most common in arid and semi-arid regions, and it can result in significant loss of topsoil.
  3. Tillage Erosion: This type of erosion occurs due to farming activities. The process of tilling can move soil from one place to another within a field, usually from higher to lower areas.

d) I can describe how the two primary types of soil erosion (water and wind erosion) might look:

  • Water Erosion: You might see small channels or rills in the soil after a rainstorm, indicating that water has flowed over the surface and carried soil away. Over time, these can grow into larger gullies. Areas of exposed, bare soil where vegetation has been washed away can also indicate water erosion.
  • Wind Erosion: You might see areas of bare soil where the surface appears to be smoothed or polished, indicating that wind has blown the top layer of soil away. In severe cases, there may be areas where the soil surface is noticeably lower due to the loss of topsoil. Wind erosion can also lead to the formation of dunes in areas with loose, dry soil.

The Answer for Requirement Number 3a,b,c

a) Conservation practices, often called soil conservation practices, are methods and techniques used to prevent soil erosion, maintain soil health, and enhance its productive capacity. These practices are typically designed to manage the soil’s use sustainably, protect the water quality, preserve the biodiversity, and promote overall environmental health.

b) Here are three kinds of erosion-control practices and their effects:

  1. Cover Crops: These are crops planted primarily to cover the soil surface and prevent erosion. They provide a physical barrier between the soil and erosive forces like wind and water. Cover crops can also improve soil health by adding organic matter, enhancing soil structure, and increasing soil moisture retention.
  2. Contour Plowing: In this agricultural practice, farmers plow and plant across the slope of the land rather than up and down. This helps slow the flow of water during rains and reduces the likelihood of water erosion. It can also enhance water infiltration and reduce runoff.
  3. Terracing: This practice involves transforming slopes into a series of steps. Terracing provides a flat surface on which to plant, which can significantly reduce the speed of water flowing down the slope, thus minimizing soil erosion. It is especially effective in hilly areas for preventing soil loss.

c) I can describe what these three erosion-control practices might look like:

  1. Cover Crops: You would see a field of crops, possibly not the main crop being cultivated on the farm, that covers the entire surface of the soil. Depending on the season and crop, this could look like a blanket of green covering the soil.
  2. Contour Plowing: You would see rows of crops planted in curves that follow the contour of the land, creating a pattern that looks like waves across the field, going up and down the slopes.
  3. Terracing: You would see a hillside or sloping field transformed into a series of flat, stepped platforms. Each terrace level would be flat, with crops planted, and there would be a substantial change in elevation from one terrace to the next. From a distance, a terraced field might look like a giant staircase.

Also Read: Gardening Merit Badge Answers

The Answer for Requirement Number 4a

A watershed, also known as a drainage basin or catchment area, is a geographic region where all water, such as rain or melting snow, drains into a particular body of water, such as a stream, river, lake, or ocean. Watersheds can be small, like a local creek, or large, like the Mississippi River basin, which spans multiple states.

Watersheds are divided from each other by topographic features called divides, which are typically hills or ridges. When precipitation falls within a watershed, it will follow the natural contours of the land (topography) and flow downhill towards the lowest point, which is typically a stream or river.

From there, the water continues its journey towards a larger body of water, often eventually reaching the ocean.

Watersheds are important for several reasons:

  1. Water cycle: They play a critical role in the Earth’s water cycle by collecting precipitation and channeling it into streams and rivers.
  2. Water supply: Watersheds supply drinking water to many communities and provide water for agricultural and industrial use.
  3. Habitat: They provide habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals.
  4. Nutrient cycling: Watersheds play a vital role in nutrient cycling, with water carrying nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus from the land into bodies of water.

Human activities within a watershed, like land use changes, pollution, or water extraction, can significantly impact the quality and quantity of water that the watershed provides, as well as the health of the ecosystem it supports. Therefore, understanding and managing watersheds sustainably is crucial for maintaining these important functions.

The Answer for Requirement Number 4d,e

d) A river basin, similar to a watershed, is the land area drained by a river and its tributaries. It includes all the water from rain, snowfall, and streams that flows over the surface and eventually into the river. River basins can cover large geographical areas, crossing multiple regional and national boundaries.

All people living in a river basin should be concerned about land and water use for several reasons:

  1. Water Quality: Activities such as agriculture, industrial processes, or urban development can introduce pollutants to the water, which can affect the quality of the water downstream.
  2. Water Quantity: Overuse or inefficient use of water upstream can significantly reduce the amount of water available for those downstream.
  3. Flooding: Certain land uses, such as deforestation or urban development, can increase the speed at which water flows into the river, potentially leading to increased flood risks downstream.
  4. Ecosystem Health: Land and water use can impact local ecosystems, which can have knock-on effects for biodiversity and the health of the river system as a whole.

e) An aquifer is a body of permeable rock or unconsolidated material (like gravel, sand, or silt) that can store and transmit significant quantities of groundwater to wells and springs. The water stored in an aquifer, often over many years, is commonly referred to as groundwater.

Aquifers can be extremely important to communities for a number of reasons:

  1. Water Supply: Many communities, especially those in arid or semi-arid regions, rely on aquifers for their water supply. This includes water for drinking, irrigation, and industrial use.
  2. Drought Resilience: Aquifers can act as natural reservoirs during times of drought, providing a reliable source of water when surface water resources are scarce.
  3. Economic Value: In many areas, the water from aquifers is critical for supporting industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, and energy production.

However, it’s important to manage aquifers sustainably. Over-extraction can lead to a decline in the water level, land subsidence, and a deterioration of water quality.

Here’s a tabular representation of the above information:

River BasinThe land area drained by a river and its tributaries.Ensuring good land and water use in a river basin can protect water quality, maintain water quantity, mitigate flooding, and maintain ecosystem health.
AquiferA body of permeable rock or unconsolidated material that stores and transmits groundwater.Aquifers provide a vital water supply, offer drought resilience, and have significant economic value. They must be managed sustainably to prevent over-extraction and maintain water quality.

Also Read: Nature Merit Badge

The Answer for Requirement Number 5a,b,c

a) I’m unable to physically draw pictures, but I can describe the hydrologic cycle:

The hydrologic cycle, also known as the water cycle, consists of several stages:

  1. Evaporation: Heat from the sun causes water from oceans, lakes, and rivers to turn into water vapor. Plants also contribute to this process through transpiration, where they release water vapor from their leaves.
  2. Condensation: The water vapor rises and cools in the atmosphere, forming tiny droplets that come together to form clouds.
  3. Precipitation: When the water droplets in the clouds become too large and heavy, they fall back to the Earth as precipitation (rain, snow, sleet, or hail).
  4. Infiltration and Runoff: Some of the water that reaches the Earth’s surface infiltrates into the ground, replenishing groundwater and aquifers. The rest becomes runoff, flowing over the land’s surface into rivers and lakes and eventually returning to the oceans, where the cycle can start again.

b) While I can’t physically demonstrate these processes, but I can describe them:

  1. Percolation: Percolation refers to the movement of water through the soil due to gravity. When it rains, water penetrates the topsoil. If the soil isn’t saturated and if more water enters the soil than its infiltration capacity, water moves downward into the subsoil and towards the groundwater.
  2. Capillary action: Capillary action is the process by which water can move against gravity in narrow spaces, such as the tiny gaps between soil particles. This action is due to the adhesive forces between water and the soil particles, and the cohesive forces between water molecules themselves. Capillary action is crucial for helping to transport water from the soil to the roots of plants.

c) The removal of vegetation can significantly affect how water runs off a watershed:

  • Increased Runoff: Vegetation intercepts rain, slowing it down and allowing more time for it to infiltrate the soil. Without vegetation, more water hits the ground directly and runs off more quickly, which can increase the amount of runoff.
  • Increased Erosion: Vegetation helps to hold the soil together with its roots, reducing soil erosion. Without it, soil is more prone to being washed away during heavy rains.
  • Reduced Infiltration: Vegetation, particularly trees, can increase the soil’s capacity to absorb water, promoting infiltration and reducing surface runoff. When vegetation is removed, the infiltration capacity can decrease, leading to more runoff.
  • Alteration of Local Hydrology: Over time, the removal of vegetation and the subsequent changes to runoff and infiltration can alter the local hydrology, potentially leading to more frequent and severe flooding. It may also decrease the amount of water available for recharge of groundwater and aquifers.

The Answer for Requirement Number 5d,e

d) The use of forest, range, and farmland can significantly affect the usable water supply in several ways:

  1. Forests: Forests play a crucial role in maintaining water quality and regulating water flow. Trees help to prevent soil erosion, which can lead to sedimentation of water bodies. They also promote infiltration of water into the soil, replenishing groundwater supplies. Deforestation can disrupt these functions, leading to increased runoff, soil erosion, and degradation of water quality.
  2. Range and Farmland: Sustainable agricultural practices can help maintain water quality by reducing soil erosion and minimizing nutrient runoff. However, improper practices can have negative impacts. Overgrazing can lead to soil compaction and erosion, reducing the soil’s ability to absorb water and causing runoff that can pollute water bodies. The excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides can also contaminate water supplies.

e) Industrial use affects water supply in multiple ways:

  1. Water Consumption: Many industries require significant amounts of water for their operations. This can deplete local water supplies, particularly in areas with limited water resources.
  2. Pollution: Industries can contaminate water supplies with pollutants, including heavy metals, chemicals, and thermal pollution. This can render water unsuitable for other uses and harm local ecosystems.
  3. Infrastructure Development: Industrial activities often involve altering the landscape, such as through mining or construction. This can disrupt local hydrology and reduce the natural recharge of groundwater.
  4. Waste Disposal: Improper disposal of industrial waste can lead to water contamination.

Here’s a tabular representation of the information:

Land Use/ActivityImpact on Usable Water Supply
Forest UseForests can maintain and enhance water quality. Deforestation can lead to increased runoff, soil erosion, and degradation of water quality.
Range and Farmland UseSustainable practices can preserve water quality. Improper practices (overgrazing, excessive fertilizer use) can degrade water quality and reduce water availability.
Industrial UseIndustries can consume large quantities of water, introduce pollutants, disrupt local hydrology, and improperly dispose of waste, all of which can negatively impact water supplies.

The Answer for Requirement Number 6a,b

a) Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies (like lakes, rivers, oceans, and groundwater) by harmful substances or pollutants. These pollutants can be physical, chemical, or biological entities that degrade water quality to a degree that makes it unfit for certain uses, such as drinking, irrigation, or aquatic life support.

b) Here are common sources of water pollution and their effects:

  1. Agricultural Runoff: This includes fertilizers, pesticides, and animal waste from farms. Excess nutrients from fertilizers can lead to eutrophication, a process that leads to excessive plant and algae growth in water bodies, subsequently depleting oxygen levels and harming aquatic life.
  2. Industrial Waste: Industries often discharge a variety of pollutants, including heavy metals, chemicals, and heated water. These can poison aquatic life, disrupt ecosystems, and make water unsafe for consumption.
  3. Sewage and Wastewater: Untreated or inadequately treated sewage contains pathogens that can contaminate drinking water and cause health issues.
  4. Oil Spills: Large quantities of oil entering a water body, often from shipwrecks or offshore oil drilling accidents, can severely harm marine life and ecosystems.
  5. Plastic and Litter: Discarded waste, particularly plastic, can choke and entangle aquatic life. Microplastics can also enter the food chain and eventually affect humans.
  6. Air Pollution: Airborne pollutants can fall into water bodies, contaminating them. For instance, mercury emitted from industrial processes can enter bodies of water and bioaccumulate in fish, posing health risks for humans who consume them.

Here’s a tabular representation of the information:

Source of PollutionEffects
Agricultural RunoffLeads to eutrophication, harming aquatic life and potentially causing “dead zones” in water bodies.
Industrial WasteCan poison aquatic life, disrupt ecosystems, and make water unsafe for consumption.
Sewage and WastewaterContaminates drinking water with pathogens, posing health risks.
Oil SpillsSeverely harms marine life and ecosystems.
Plastic and LitterChokes and entangles aquatic life; microplastics can enter the food chain.
Air PollutionContaminates water bodies, potentially leading to bioaccumulation of toxins in aquatic food chains.

The Answer for Requirement Number 6c,d

c) Here are the definitions of the terms:

  1. Primary Water Treatment: This is the first stage of the wastewater treatment process. Its main purpose is to remove large particles and sediments from the wastewater through mechanical processes such as screening and sedimentation. Solids that sink to the bottom are removed and the clarified wastewater proceeds to the next stage of treatment.
  2. Secondary Waste Treatment: This stage uses biological processes to remove dissolved and suspended organic matter from the wastewater. This is typically achieved by allowing microbes to consume the organic matter as food, and then settling out the microbe-laden ‘sludge.’ The resulting water is much cleaner but may still need further treatment before being discharged into a natural body of water.
  3. Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD): BOD is a measure of the quantity of oxygen used by microorganisms to decompose the organic matter in a sample of water. A high BOD indicates a large amount of organic matter, suggesting that the water is highly polluted. BOD is a commonly used indicator of water quality.

d) I can’t draw images, but I can describe the general principles of a complete waste treatment process:

  1. Preliminary Treatment: The wastewater first undergoes preliminary treatment to remove large items and grit. Screens catch large items such as rags and sticks. Grit chambers allow sand and other heavy particles to settle out.
  2. Primary Treatment: The wastewater flows into a primary sedimentation tank, where heavy solids settle to the bottom and are removed, while oil and lighter substances float to the top and are skimmed off.
  3. Secondary Treatment: The wastewater then enters a biological treatment stage, often involving aeration tanks where air is pumped in to stimulate the growth of beneficial microbes that consume the organic matter. The mixture then moves into secondary clarifiers where the microbial floc settles out.
  4. Tertiary Treatment: Some treatment plants have a tertiary stage that removes additional pollutants, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, that weren’t completely removed during the secondary stage. This stage can involve physical-chemical processes such as filtration and disinfection (e.g., chlorination or UV treatment).
  5. Sludge Treatment: The solids collected during primary and secondary treatment are further processed into ‘biosolids’ that can be safely disposed of or beneficially used (e.g., as fertilizer).
  6. Effluent Discharge: The treated wastewater (effluent) is discharged back into the environment, often into a body of water. The discharge must meet environmental standards to protect the receiving water body.

Remember that local variations in wastewater treatment may exist, but these are the basic stages.

The Answer for Requirement Number 7d,e

d) I don’t have physical access to a soil survey report or tracing paper to complete this task, but I can explain how it might be done.

A soil survey report typically includes the following elements:

  1. Introduction: This section provides an overview of the report, including its purpose and the methods used in the survey.
  2. Soil Map: The main feature of the report. It’s a color-coded representation of different soil types across a specific area. Each soil type is usually assigned a unique symbol.
  3. Soil Descriptions: Detailed descriptions of each soil type found in the survey area. These typically include information such as the soil’s color, texture, depth, drainage, fertility, and potential uses.
  4. Soil Properties and Qualities: This section provides data on various soil properties like pH, organic matter content, and water holding capacity.
  5. Soil Interpretations: This part of the report interprets the soil data in the context of specific land uses, such as agriculture, forestry, construction, and conservation.

If you were to complete this task, you would lay a piece of tracing paper over the soil map, then outline an area with at least three different soil types. You would then list the full name and map symbol for each soil type.

e) While I can’t survey your local area, but I can explain how this might be done and how problems might be addressed:

You would walk around your neighborhood, camps, school ground, or park, noting any areas that show signs of erosion (like bare soil, rills, or gullies), sedimentation (like accumulated dirt or mud), or pollution (like litter or discolored water).

Addressing these issues typically involves a combination of physical modifications, behavioral changes, and policy or management measures. Here are some examples:

  1. Erosion: Planting vegetation can stabilize soil, while barriers (like silt fences) can prevent eroded soil from being transported away. On a group level, organizing tree planting events or installing community gardens can help.
  2. Sedimentation: Sediment basins or wetlands can be installed to capture and filter out sediment. A community could lobby for better sediment control measures in local construction activities.
  3. Pollution: Picking up litter can reduce pollution. More broadly, organizing community clean-ups, promoting recycling programs, or advocating for stronger pollution regulations can also be effective.

Remember that addressing these issues often involves working with local authorities or landowners and should always be done safely and respectfully.

I'm a Mechanical Engineer and lifelong Eagle Scout. My passion for scouting guides my writing, aiming to inspire fellow Scouts on their path. Thanks for reading, and best wishes on your journey to Eagle!