When organic waste is improperly handled, it can damage the natural environment and harm the municipal water supply. Composting is a good way to prevent mismanagement of waste (PDF). The following are two examples of organic waste management that impact water and the environment.
Example 1: Dumping organic waste into a body of water such as a river, stream, or creek.
The nutrients from the organic waste enter the water, changing its nutrient content. This allows plants and algae to grow in the water. The excess organic waste lowers the level of oxygen in the water, a process called eutrophication. The water becomes polluted, unhealthy, and difficult to purify for drinking.
Example 2: Leaving organic waste on the curb or other paved surface for an extended period of time.
When it rains, the water runs past the organic waste on the pavement and picks up nutrients from the waste. This changes the nutrient content of the water before it enters into the sewer system. The water becomes polluted, unhealthy, and difficult to purify for drinking.