Can thermal energy cause pollution?

Thermal pollution (hot water) can cause several environmental impacts. These include:

  • Reduced oxygen levels in the water changing the populations of the aquatic creatures present.
  • Changes in benthic plant species.
  • Changes in the viability of reproductive success in fish.
  • Faster decomposition of organic material.
  • Increased reactivity of toxins in the water.
  • Changes in the migratory behaviour of ducks and similar birds

Thermal pollution is usually associated with increases of water temperatures in a stream, lake, or ocean due to the discharge of heated water from industrial processes, such as the generation of electricity.

Increases in ambient water temperature also occur in streams where shading vegetation along the banks is removed, or where sediments has made the water more turbid .