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Aquatic life in general is quite tolerant of deteriorated water. Aquatic organisms vary in their responses to environmental alteration from extreme sensitivity to equally extreme tolerance. Compared to the quality of water required for domestic and industrial use, the aquatic life of the nation is not very demanding. To protect all water-use interests pollution must be defined, criteria for natural waters developed, and standards for specific discharges fixed. It is probable that no single, equitable set of criteria for aquatic life can be established over a geographic area larger than the basin of a first- or second-order tributary of our major rivers. Water quality change brings about a concomitant biological change, but extreme conditions must exist and be persistent before aquatic life is eliminated. Environmental control is essential if optimal conditions for aquatic life are to be developed and maintained. Waste disposal, properly controlled, need not conflict with the use of water for aquatic life.
criteria, standards, water pollution, organic waste, industrial waste, dissolved oxygen, fish, eutrophication, sewage, stream classification
Wurtz, C. B.
Assistant professor, La Salle College, Philadelphia, Pa.