Definition: Threats from introduction of exotic and/or excess materials or energy from point and nonpoint sources

Exposition: This class deals with exotic materials introduced to the environment. There is obviously a fine distinction when the pollution comes from another threat – for example, should an oil spill from a pipeline be classified as 4.2 Utility & Service Lines or 9.2 Industrial & Military Effluents? You will have to exercise some judgment here as to which represents the direct threat in your situation. In some cases, the source of the pollution may be either unknown or from a historical source (e.g., heavy metals buried in sediments). In these cases, you may have to make an educated guess as to which category to assign the pollutant.

9.1 Household Sewage & Urban Waste Water

Definition: Water-borne sewage and non-point runoff from housing and urban areas that include nutrients, toxic chemicals and/or sediments

Exposition: This category does not include major industrial discharge, which falls under 9.2 Industrial & Military Effluents. It does include chemicals and next generation pollutants (caffeine or pharmaceuticals) in household waste streams. Technically, sewage from a pipe is “point-source” whereas a leaking septic system is “nonpoint-source.” This category does not include agricultural runoff, which falls under 9.3 Agricultural & Forestry Effluents.


  • discharge from municipal waste treatment plants
  • leaking septic systems
  • untreated sewage
  • outhouses
  • oil or sediment from roads
  • fertilizers and pesticides from lawns and golf-courses
  • road salt

9.2 Industrial & Military Effluents

Definition: Water-borne pollutants from industrial and military sources including mining, energy production, and other resource extraction industries that include nutrients, toxic chemicals and/or sediments

Exposition: The source of the pollution is often far from the system—an extreme example are the heavy metals that migrating eels bring to the Sargasso Sea. Often, the pollutants only become a problem when they bioconcentrate through the food chain. Oil spills from pipelines should generally go here.


  • toxic chemicals from factories
  • illegal dumping of chemicals
  • mine tailings
  • arsenic from gold mining
  • leakage from fuel tanks
  • PCBs in river sediments

9.3 Agricultural & Forestry Effluents

Definition: Water-borne pollutants from agricultural, silvicultural, and aquaculture systems that include nutrients, toxic chemicals and/or sediments including the effects of these pollutants on the site where they are applied

Exposition: Wind erosion of agricultural sediments or smoke from forest fires goes in 9.5 Air-Borne Pollutants.


  • nutrient loading from fertilizer run-off
  • herbicide run-off
  • manure from feedlots
  • nutrients from aquaculture
  • soil erosion

9.4 Garbage & Solid Waste

Definition: Rubbish and other solid materials including those that entangle wildlife

Exposition: This category generally is for solid waste outside of designated landfills – landfills themselves should go in 1.2 Commercial & Industrial Areas. Likewise, toxins leaching from solid waste – for example, mercury leaking out of a landfill into groundwater – should go in 9.2 Industrial & Military Effluents.


  • municipal waste
  • litter from cars
  • flotsam & jetsam from recreational boats
  • waste that entangles wildlife
  • construction debris

9.5 Air-Borne Pollutants

Definition: Atmospheric pollutants from point and nonpoint sources

Exposition: It may be difficult to determine the sources of many atmospheric pollutants—and thus hard to take action to counter them.


  • acid rain
  • smog from vehicle emissions
  • excess nitrogen deposition
  • radioactive fallout
  • wind dispersion of pollutants or sediments
  • smoke from forest fires or wood stoves

9.6 Excess Energy

Definition: Inputs of heat, sound, or light that disturb wildlife or ecosystems

Exposition: These inputs of energy can have strong effects on some species or ecosystems.


  • noise from highways or airplanes
  • sonar from submarines that disturbs whales
  • heated water from power plants
  • lamps attracting insects
  • beach lights disorienting turtles
  • damaging atmospheric radiation resulting from ozone holes