An ocean (or region that is part of an ocean). Unlike lakes and streams, seawater or ocean water is salty.

Septic Tank

An tank (usually kept underground) that is used to hold domestic wastes when a sewer line is not available to carry them to a treatment plant. It stores the solid waste until bacteria breaks it down and the relatively clean water is absorbed by the ground.


Sinks remove gases from the atmosphere either by destroying them through chemical processes or storing them in some other form. Carbon dioxide is often stored in ocean water, plants, or soils, from where it can be released at a later time.


Literally a contraction of "smoke" and "fog"; the colloquial term used for photochemical fog, which includes ozone and numerous other contaminants. Smog is usually adds a brownish haze to the atmosphere.

Solar Power

Solar power is energy from the sun and without its presence all life on earth would end. It is only a small fraction of the sun's bright light that touches the earth, specifically around one-hundredth of a millionth of a percent. We've used the Sun for drying clothes and food for thousands of years, but only recently have we been able to use it for generating power. Solar power is energy derived from the sun and converted into heat or electricity.


The largest amount of a substance that can be dissolved in a given amount of a liquid, usually water. For a highly water-soluble compound, such as table salt, a lot can dissolve in water. Motor oil is only slightly soluble in water.


Changing active organic matter in sludge into inert, harmless material. The term also refers to physical activities such as compacting and capping at sites that limits the further spread of contamination without actual reduction of toxicity.


The layer of the atmosphere between about 10 and 40 km above the Earth's surface within which temperatures rise with altitude. The stratosphere contains 90 per cent of the atmosphere's ozone (O3).

Surface Water

Water located above ground (e.g., rivers, lakes).

Sustainable development

Development that ensures that the use of resources and the environment today does not compromise their use in the future.

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