University of Florida

Sources of Pollution: Microorganisms

While some microorganisms are helpful, others are harmful and cause disease. Disease-causing microorganisms spread to aquatic wildlife and plants and possibly even to human beings. Microorganisms can also reduce the amount of oxygen in the water, thereby hindering the water’s ability to support aquatic animal and plant life.

Microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and parasites, can come from the following sources:

  • improperly treated sewage,
  • runoff from animal wastes,
  • industrial sources such as slaughter houses, food and paper processing plants,
  • and some landfills.

What UF is Doing

What You Can Do


sewage spill sign