waterpollution.pmd

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1 SCS-2005-02 Water and Me Series What Is Water Pollution? What Is Water Pollution? What Is Water Pollution? What Is Water Pollution? What Is Water Pollution? * Monty C. Dozier Assistant Professor and Extension Water Resources Specialist Pollution Pollution is a word that you hear almost every day in the news, at school and in day-to-day conversations. Our Pollution Pollution Pollution society has produced many kinds of pollution, some are more dangerous than others. Scientists are constantly studying how the different types of pollution affect the environment and how it can be controlled. Much has been done to reduce and control pollution, but there is still more that needs to be done. What is your definition of pollution. Factory Factory Mine Mine When something is added to the environment that makes it Wastewater Plant Wastewater Plant Water Water unclean or unsafe it is called pollution. Water Water Water Farm Farm City City Logging Logging Pollution Pollution Pollution occurs when the water becomes over- Pollution Pollution Suburb Suburb Port Port loaded with too much of one thing and the aquatic or- ganisms cannot keep up with their cleaning responsibili- ties. Some organisms may die and others may grow too Oil Rig Oil Rig fast. There are many types and sources of water pollution. Using the picture, list sources of pollution (such as sewage pollution) that can pollute surface water or groundwater. Visit our website for additional information: http://waterandme.tamu.edu http://water.tamu.edu http://twri.tamu.edu

2 Types and Sources of Water Pollution Types and Sources of Water Pollution Types and Sources of Water Pollution Types and Sources of Water Pollution Types and Sources of Water Pollution There are several major types of water pollution. One of the most destructive types Petroleum Pollution Petroleum Pollution . Petroleum products, such as oil and gasoline, enter Petroleum Pollution is Petroleum Pollution Petroleum Pollution the water from ships and marine terminals, offshore oil rigs, runoff from parking lots, factories, oil dumping, and other sources. Many of the worst pollution disasters have been due to accidents involving oil rigs, pipelines, or oil tankers. Sewage Pollution Sewage Pollution Sewage Pollution comes from both urban (city) and rural (country) areas. Although many cities and towns have Sewage Pollution Sewage Pollution sewage treatment plants, at times, such as during a flood event some may be unable to handle the amount of sewage produced. Treatment plant failures and overflows may result in untreated sewage entering rivers and coastal waters. Some coastal cities may still be using the open ocean as a sewage dumping site. Small pleasure boats, as well as larger ships, can pollute waters by illegally dumping. Solid Wastes Solid Wastes Pollution from is a major problem for many communities. Most Solid Wastes Solid Wastes Solid Wastes solid wastes are handled by taking them to landfills, but some illegal dumping of gar- bage, old tires and other solid wastes occurs. A hazard to both humans and wildlife, solid wastes are unsightly, slow to degrade and, in some cases, non-degradable. Nuclear Energy Nuclear Energy Nuclear-powered ships, power plants and other users of Nuclear Energy are possible Nuclear Energy Nuclear Energy Radiation Pollution Radiation Pollution Radiation Pollution , not so much from accidents, but from disposal of sources of Radiation Pollution Radiation Pollution nuclear materials such as spent numclear fuel cells. Many factories and nuclear power plants use water cooling during manufacturing processes and reactor cooling. Water taken from rivers, bays or lakes is heated and, if returned directly to the environ- Heat Heat Thermal Pollution Thermal Pollution or Heat ment, can lead to what is called Thermal Pollution . Heat Thermal Pollution Thermal Pollution Heat Wastes Toxic Chemicals Toxic Chemicals Wastes and . Chemi- Wastes Chemical and industrial plants produce thousands of different types of Toxic Chemicals Wastes Wastes Toxic Chemicals Toxic Chemicals TCE TCE cals such as (trichloroethene) have been highly publicized due to being PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls) and TCE TCE TCE found in the environment and their harmful effects on living things. Fertilizers Fertilizers Pesticides Pesticides Pesticides Fertilizers The use of on cropland, gardens and yards helps and Pesticides Fertilizers Pesticides Fertilizers farms and homeowners but can also be damaging to aquatic and marine life when not Animal Animal Animal properly applied or managed in rural and urban areas. Poorly managed Animal Animal Wastes Wastes from farms can also add excess nutrients to rivers and lakes. In addition, Wastes Wastes Wastes runoff from farm lands and urban areas carries large amounts of sediment into waterways making the water cloudy or murky. Sediment is the number one pollutant by volume of surface water in the United States. Page 2 Page 2 Page 2 Page 2 Page 2

3 Make a list of the ways that you may add to pollution. Nonpoint Source Pollution (NPS) Nonpoint Source Pollution (NPS) Nonpoint Source Pollution (NPS) Nonpoint Source Pollution (NPS) Nonpoint Source Pollution (NPS) Nonpoint source pollution (NPS) can be defined as pollution that comes from many miscellaneous or diffuse sources rather than from an identifiable, specific point. Nonpoint source pollution can originate from urban environments such as yards in neighborhoods or from agricultural production areas such as crop fields. Chemicals, waste products and soil that are carried by rain into streams or rivers become a part of NPS. Common examples are fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, spilled motor oil and wastes from pets, wildlife and livestock. Other significant sources of NPS include: 1. Litter Disposal of wastes in catch basins 7. 2. Hazardous waste improperly stored or discarded 8. Improperly operating septic systems 3. Erosion from construction sites, farms or homesites 9. Acid deposition including acid rain and fog 4. Pollution from roadways and road salting activities 10. Leaking sewer lines 11. Improper use of fertilizers and pesticides 5. Discharge of sewage and garbage from ships and boats in the urban or agriculture environment 6. Cleansers and other compounds used on ships lating 12. Animal feeding operations algae from accumu and boats to prevent barnacles and Point Source Pollution (PS) Point Source Pollution (PS) Point Source Pollution (PS) Point Source Pollution (PS) Point Source Pollution (PS) Point source pollution (PS) comes directly from a known source like an industrial or sewage outfall pipe. Point sources are typically associated with manufacturing processes. However, point sources also include discharges from water treatment plants and large animal feeding operations. Thermal Water Pollution Thermal Water Pollution Thermal Water Pollution Thermal Water Pollution Thermal Water Pollution Surface water that is heated can lead to what is called thermal water pollution. Heat is sometimes considered point source pollution. Main contributors to thermal pollution are the companies that process our food and generate our electricity. Electrical generating plants can create thermal water pollution when they use surface water to condense steam, which is used to turn turbines, back to the liquid state where water can be used again. When water is heated, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels drop. Heated water becomes harmful to many aquatic organisms because it deprives them of oxygen or carbon dioxide required to live. * s When the source of thermal pollution is discontinued, another problem can arise. The water temperature returns to normal and the organisms that have adapted to the warm water, or have remained in the warm area rather than follow their usual migration pattern, are then in jeopardy. Page 3 Page 3 Page 3 Page 3 Page 3

4 Point Source Pollution Point Source Pollution . Factory Pollution which enters the water from a specific, easy-to-identify site is called Point Source Pollution Point Source Pollution Point Source Pollution and sewage discharge pipes are examples of point source pollution. Pollution that does not come from a specific site; but Nonpoint Source Pollution Nonpoint Source Pollution Nonpoint Source Pollution . Runoff from instead come from several different and diffuse sources, is called Nonpoint Source Pollution Nonpoint Source Pollution urban lawns and farmlands are examples of nonpoint source pollution. Classify each of the potential pollution sources listed below as point source (PS) or nonpoint source (NPS). DISCHARGE PIPE _____ 1. FACTORY _____ 2. CITY SEWAGE PLANT ARM RUNOFF ENTERING STREAMS _____ 3. F OIL SPILL FROM A SHIP _____ 4. _____ 5. NUCLEAR POWER PLANT WATER CANAL _____ 6. AIR POLLUTION SETTLING ON WATER RUNOFF FROM CITY PARKING LOTS ENTERING CREEKS _____ 7. _____ 8. GARBAGE DUMP LOCATED NEAR A STREAM _____ 9. RUNOFF FROM A LARGE HOUSING PROJECT _____ 10. OFFSHORE HAZARDOUS WASTE DUMP SITE Which do you think is easier to locate and control, point source or nonpoint source pollution? Why? List additional point and nonpoint sources of pollution. 1. PS 2. PS 3. NPS 4. PS 5. PS 6. NPS 7. NPS 8. PS 9. NPS 10. PS Point sources of pollution are easier to locate because they are centered in one area and the pollution trail can be easily followed. Point Source: residential sewage ditch, runoff from a mining site, uncontrolled erosion site, : shoreline erosion, seepage NonPoint Source offshore oil rig, boat harbor, marine terminal. from near shore septic tanks, exhaust, gas and oil from ship and boat traffic, soil erosion. Page 4 Page 4 Page 4 Page 4 Page 4

5 How Does Pollution Affect the Environment? How Does Pollution Affect the Environment? How Does Pollution Affect the Environment? How Does Pollution Affect the Environment? How Does Pollution Affect the Environment? You have seen news reports showing an oil covered beach or scenes of polluted water near factories and urban areas. There may be other visible examples of water pollution near your home. Some types of pollution are easily seen and identified. Other types may go completely unnoticed until they cause major problems. Water in a lake, creek or river may look clean, but it may contain a number of pollutants. The effects of different types of water pollution are complex and, in many cases, not well understood. Different organisms may respond differently to the same type of pollution. Some forms of pollution are long lasting while others are short-lived. Other factors such as temperature, rainfall and water flow may influence effects of pollution. One thing is certain, different types of pollution can affect the environment in many ways. How Does Water Pollution Affect You? How Does Water Pollution Affect You? How Does Water Pollution Affect You? How Does Water Pollution Affect You? How Does Water Pollution Affect You? Most population centers are located near major waterways. These areas were first settled because of their access to water, but there is a continuing nationwide trend for people to move to areas near the coast or major rivers. This movement places more stress on aquatic environments as more people use water resources for recreation, food, water sources, energy and transportation. Pollution of water resources can interfere with swimming and fishing activities, make boating unsafe, affect wildlife and food resources and even contaminate water supplies. Lakes, rivers and coastal areas are much more enjoyable and safe when they are pollution free. Not only do you benefit from a pollution free environment, but h organisms that live there do as well. It is every person’s responsibility to clean up after themselves. Throw away their tras and to pick up any othe rlitter they see. Controlling Pollution Controlling Pollution Controlling Pollution Controlling Pollution Controlling Pollution Pollution can be compared to sweet foods; if you eat too much of them, you may get a toothache. But just as toothaches can be prevented and treated, pollution can be monitored, controlled and cleaned up. Preventing or controlling pollution is easier and cheaper than cleaning it up later. However, the task of controlling pollution today is not easy. The tremendous amount of types and sources of water pollution, in addition to its complex nature, calls for conducting much study and research into pollution problems. The most effective means of controlling pollution results from cooperation between scientists, legislators, citizens and industry. Page 5 Page 5 Page 5 Page 5 Page 5

6 Pollution Control Framework Pollution Control Framework Pollution Control Framework Pollution Control Framework Pollution Control Framework Scientists Scientists Legislators/State Agencies Legislators/State Agencies Scientists Legislators/State Agencies Scientists Scientists Legislators/State Agencies Legislators/State Agencies 1. Identify sources and types of pollution 1. Support research/education 2. Enact laws that limit pollution levels 2. Determine amount and concentration of pollution 3. Levy fines and penalities against polluters 3. Study the effects of pollution 4. 4. Recommend safe pollution levels Coordinate state pollution control efforts 5. Study and design pollution control methods 5. Create environmental protection plans 6. Provide mechanism to monitor pollution 6. Develop pollution remediation and control programs clean-up plans 7. Monitor effectiveness of clean-up efforts 8. Research new treatment technologies Industries Industries Citizen Groups Citizen Groups Industries Citizen Groups Industries Industries Citizen Groups Citizen Groups 1. Support education programs, wildlife 1. Lobby for beneficial laws preserves, etc. 2. Educate public of pollution dangers 2. Establish quality control to limit pollution 3. Identify sources of pollution and notify authorities and public 3. Develop recycling programs 4. Encourage consumer conservation and recycling 4. Find commercial uses for wastes and byproducts 5. Volunteer to cleanup polluted areas 5. Research and use better production methods 6. Participate in citizen volunteer water quality monitoring programs 6. Monitor water quality of discharges 7. Provide public information 7. W ork with the general public to protect natural resources Page 6 Page 6 Page 6 Page 6 Page 6

7 Why do legislators and agencies need to be informed about the sources and Why do legislators and agencies need to be informed about the sources and Why do legislators and agencies need to be informed about the sources and Why do legislators and agencies need to be informed about the sources and Why do legislators and agencies need to be informed about the sources and possible effects of pollution? possible effects of pollution? possible effects of pollution? possible effects of pollution? possible effects of pollution? Legislators need research - based data to make sound judgements concerning pollution laws. Agencies use the information to set pollution limits, levy penalities and fines against polluters, and determine the best methods for pollution control. Why do many industries fund research and programs to control pollution? Why do many industries fund research and programs to control pollution? Why do many industries fund research and programs to control pollution? Why do many industries fund research and programs to control pollution? Why do many industries fund research and programs to control pollution? Many industries fund research and programs to control pollution to meet state and federal pollution control guidelines, improve their production methods and profit margins, and maintain a good public image. Who should bear the cost of pollution cleanup and control? Who should bear the cost of pollution cleanup and control? Who should bear the cost of pollution cleanup and control? Who should bear the cost of pollution cleanup and control? Who should bear the cost of pollution cleanup and control? The cost of cleanup and controlling pollution can be excessive. In many cases, identified polluters are fined and ordered to clean up the pollution. In severe pollution cases, state and federal agencies may be called in to assist in the cleanup effort s. Most of the time these costs are passed on to the consumers that buy products from the polluters. Therefore, it is important for citizens to stay alert to potential pollution problems and work with the polluters before a problem begins. Why are strict laws and heavy fines needed for frequent or severe pollution Why are strict laws and heavy fines needed for frequent or severe pollution Why are strict laws and heavy fines needed for frequent or severe pollution Why are strict laws and heavy fines needed for frequent or severe pollution Why are strict laws and heavy fines needed for frequent or severe pollution offenders? offenders? offenders? offenders? offenders? Strict laws and heavy fines for frequent or severe pollution offenders are needed as a strong deterrent against pollution. This deterrent in turns helps to protect our environment from the damages resulting from pollution. pollution 7) sediment NSF 10) herbicide Down: 1) petroleum 2) radiation 3) point source 4) solid waste 5) EPA 6) water Across: 1) sewage 2) NOAA 3) pesticide 4) toxic 5) nonpoint source 6) fertilizer 7) thermal 8) oil 9) Page 7 Page 7 Page 7 Page 7 Page 7

8 Down Down Down Down Down Across Across Across Across Across 1. pollution from ships, oil rigs, factories, etc. 2. pollution from nuclear waste 1. _____treatment plant 3. pollution from a small area or single source 2. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration 4. type of waste stored in land fills 3. pest poison 5. Environmental Protection Agency abbreviation 4. poisonous 6. topic of this project 5. pollution from a wide area or diffuse source 7. pollution from erosion and runoff 6. plant food 7. heat or _____ pollution 8. petroleum product (Answers on page 7) 9. National Science Foundation abbreviation 10. plant poison Page 8 Page 8 Page 8 Page 8 Page 8

9 Cleaning Up Dirty Water Cleaning Up Dirty Water Cleaning Up Dirty Water Cleaning Up Dirty Water Cleaning Up Dirty Water Water Pollution Can Cause Disease Water Pollution Can Cause Disease Water Pollution Can Cause Disease Water Pollution Can Cause Disease Water Pollution Can Cause Disease * Water has been one of man 1. s most precious commodities throughout history. Water, although essential for life, is frequently squandered. Misuse of water became a problem during the Industrial Revolution when populated cities developed. Wastes from the homes and factories were discharged directly into rivers and streams near cities. Contaminated rivers became a major threat to public health because they transmitted disease. For example, 50,000 typhoid fever typhoid fever Dysentery Dysentery cholera cholera rampaged urban areas typhoid fever Dysentery and — in London in 1831. cholera people died from typhoid fever typhoid fever Dysentery Dysentery cholera cholera late in the 19th century. 2. Microorganisms are found in all natural waterways. They will multiply if there is enough food available and proper environmental conditions are maintained for organism growth. In a polluted stream, microorganisms multiply very fast to consume all of the organic pollution that is available . Unfortunately, microorganisms also need oxygen. Oxygen in the stream is rapidly depleted because microorganisms use oxygen while consuming their food. Dissolved oxygen is essential to microorganisms, fish and plants in a healthy stream. When there is no oxygen in the stream, fish, aquatic plants and microorganisms die and fall to the bottom of the stream and decay. This degradation process causes the bottom of the stream to become black and mucky. It produces odorous gases and makes the stream unacceptable for many uses. This decay also adds to the depleted oxygen problem. Levels of Wastewater Treatment Levels of Wastewater Treatment Levels of Wastewater Treatment Levels of Wastewater Treatment Levels of Wastewater Treatment primary treatment primary treatment In today * primary treatment s modern treatment plants, first wastewater receives primary treatment. During 1. primary treatment primary treatment solids found in raw wastewater are either screened out or allowed to settle to the bottom of the tank. Solids primary sludge primary sludge removed from the bottom of the tank are called primary sludge (see drawing on following page). primary sludge primary sludge Secondary treatment Secondary treatment started on a large scale in the United States in the early 1970s when wastewater flows Secondary treatment 2. Secondary treatment Secondary treatment from primary treatment tanks to larger secondary treatment tanks, a number of processes occur. — large amounts of bacteria and other microorganisms, similar to those found in streams, are mixed with the wastewater. Microorganisms use pollutants in wastewater as food and multiply very quickly. — After pollutants in wastewater are converted to microscopic organisms (through eating), wastewater is held for several hours in settling tanks. Organisms settle to the bottom of the tank, and clean water flows from the top. It is then disinfected and — released to the receiving body of water (stream, river, ocean). primary treatment primary treatment , 3. During wastewater treatment, there are two places where solids are removed. During primary treatment primary treatment primary treatment secondary treatment, secondary treatment, primary sludge primary sludge the primary sludge . After secondary treatment, solids settle to the bottom of the tank and are called primary sludge secondary treatment, secondary treatment, primary sludge secondary sludge secondary sludge microorganisms are removed from the bottom of the settling tank and are called secondary sludge . Usually secondary sludge secondary sludge sanitary sludge sanitary sludge the two sludges are mixed together and termed sanitary sludge . sanitary sludge sanitary sludge Results of Treatment Results of Treatment Results of Treatment Results of Treatment Results of Treatment Sludge handling is the most difficult part of wastewater treatment. It is very difficult to find a way to manage sludge. Sludges can be burned Sludges can be burned — Sludges can be burned . Unfortunately, any burning process Sludges can be burned Sludges can be burned generates some air pollutants. There are already many contaminants in the air, so any additional sources of air pollution, even if they are Page 9 Page 9 very small, are usually not allowed. Page 9 Page 9 Page 9

10 Sludge can be spread on the land as a soil conditioner Sludge can be spread on the land as a soil conditioner Sludge can be spread on the land as a soil conditioner . Sod and other farmers in Texas have — Sludge can be spread on the land as a soil conditioner Sludge can be spread on the land as a soil conditioner successfully applied sludge to their land. Unfortunately, the amount of farm land is diminishing rapidly. Also, t like the idea of sludge being brought into many farms now have housing subdivisions with neighbors and don * their neighborhoods. People neighboring the farm are afraid sludge will cause underground water pollution, disease outbreaks or odor problems after it is spread on the land. Issues of heavy metals in the sludge are also a concern when applying sanitary sludge to lands. Ocean disposal of sludge Ocean disposal of sludge Ocean disposal of sludge . Sometimes sludge is taken to the ocean for disposal. This method continues — Ocean disposal of sludge Ocean disposal of sludge because there is more sludge produced than the land based sludge disposal alternatives can economically handle. Biological Pretreatment of Wastewater Biological Pretreatment of Wastewater Biological Pretreatment of Wastewater Biological Pretreatment of Wastewater Biological Pretreatment of Wastewater The wastewater treatment process at most wastewater treatment plants depends on pollutants in the sewage being biodegradable biodegradable biodegradable biodegradable biodegradable if there is a naturally occurring organism that can use it for food. biodegradable . A pollutant is biodegradable biodegradable biodegradable biodegradable Many chemicals manufactured by industries are not biodegradable. Therefore, they are difficult to treat at a — biological wastewater treatment plant. pretreat pretreat Industries that discharge non-biodegradable wastewater to a public wastewater treatment plant must — pretreat pretreat pretreat their wastes. Pretreatment is usually a chemical process that changes the industrial wastewater to a form that is amenable to biological treatment by the public wastewater treatment plant. Advanced Advanced Chemical Chemical Treatment Treatment Feed Feed Primary Primary Secondary Final Secondary Final Preliminary Preliminary Treatment Treatment Treatment Treatment Treatment Treatment Stream Stream Treatment Treatment Liquid Liquid Solid Solid Air Air Sludge Sludge Digestion Digestion Dewatering Dewatering Sludge Treatment Sludge Treatment Page 10 Page 10 Page 10 Page 10 Page 10

11 Septic Systems Septic Systems Septic Systems Septic Systems Septic Systems Some towns and houses located in the country do not have a public sanitary sewerage collection system and treatment plant. In this situation, every house has its own septic system to treat its wastewater. — a standard septic system has two components, a septic tank and a disposal field usually on the property. — the solids in the wastewater settle to the bottom of the septic tank (sludge) or float to the top (scum). Gas Gas — the liquid flows into the underground distribution system where the soil filters pollutants from the wastewater. Outlet Outlet to to Scum Layer Scum Layer — occasionally the septic tank must be cleaned out and the sludge Absorption Absorption Field Field and scum disposed of at an approved facility. Liquid Effluent Liquid Effluent Some septic systems now available add more treatment (such as disinfectant) Sludge Sludge to the liquid effluent in order that the liquid can be reused as irrigation water Section View of Septic Tank Section View of Septic Tank in the home landscape. Personal Responsibility Personal Responsibility Personal Responsibility Personal Responsibility Personal Responsibility Water pollution control is everyone’s responsibility. Frequently, people make the mistake of thinking that the “government” will take care of problems like water pollution. These people forget we, as citizens, are the ones that should eliminate water pollution. Here are some ideas about what you can do: — Check to see if your yard is a source of erosion. Plant grass or trees anywhere there is a bare patch in the yard. — Don’t disturb the banks of streams or brooks. The grass and trees on the stream banks keep the soil near the stream from washing into the water. Excessive running, walking, or driving on the sides of the stream will loosen the vegetation so that it can wash away when a storm causes the water in the stream to rise. — Be sure that you pick up your pet’s droppings. Remember that anything that is on the street before a rain storm will be washed into the streams and rivers of your community through storm drains by the rainfall runoff. — Limit the amount of household chemicals you buy. Pesticides, fertilizers, strong cleaners and oils create serious water pollution problems when they are misused or thrown away carelessly. — Do not feed the storm drain. Storm drains are not disposal bins. Things such as yard clippings, driveway sweepings or oil should not be disposed of in storm drains. Storm drains channel water from neighborhood streets into rivers, streams, and lakes. These serve as water for many Texans to drink. So remember if you dump it, you drink it. If you would like to complete a checklist of your school or home to see if you are at risk for pollution problems around your home or school go to http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/stormwater/hsieteachguide/stg5activity5a.htm. Page 11 Page 11 Page 11 Page 11 Page 11

12 This publication was funded by the Rio Grande Basin Initiative administered by the Texas Water Resources Institute of Texas Cooperative Extension, with funds provided through a grant from the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2001-45049-01149. This material adapted from “What is Water Pollution," Virginia Cooperative Extension Service, 4-H Marine Project, December 1987 and from “Water, Our Most Valuable Resource Keeping It Clean”, Alabama Cooperative Exten- sion Service, Auburn Univeristy. or http://water.tamu.edu For additional information visit:: or http://soilcrop.tamu.edu http://waterandme.tamu.edu Produced by Soil and Crop Sciences Communications • The Texas A&M University System • 979.862.3796 gion, age or national origin. Educational programs of Texas Cooperative Extension are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, reli ded, and June 30, Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home Economics, Acts of Congress of May 8, 1914, as amen tension Service, The 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. Edward G. Smith, Interim Director, Texas Cooperative Ex Texas A&M University System.

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