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The Visual Water Dictionary: Bank Stability

Confused about wonky water terms? No prob! The Visual Water Dictionary attempts to cut confusion on ambiguous water terminology with easy visual references.

Today’s Term: Bank Stability

Bank Stability refers to the conditions and properties of a river or stream bank that either resist or counteract erosion,  such as water flow, type of soil, trees and vegetation cover.Some warning signs of poor bank stability include steep banks, exposed soil, soil that has fallen into the stream, leaning trees and exposed intrastructure.

Visible signs of poor bank stability (via trailvoice on flickr)

Often confused with…

No credit for you when when bank stability is eroding. (via sameold2008 on Flickr)

Bank Stability (in the financial sector) refers to the conditions and properties of a financial institution that either gain or erode capital (i.e., your money/life savings.) Some warning signs of poor bank stability in the financial sector include soiled pants,  steep losses, fallen investments, leaning politicians and exposed fraud and criminal mischief.

The Visual Water Dictionary: Plume

The Visual Water Dictionary attempts to cut confusion on ambiguous water terminology with easy visual references.

Today’s Term: Plume

Plume is an underground pattern of contaminant concentrations created by the movement of groundwater beneath a contaminant source, with the contaminants spreading in the direction of groundwater movement.  The source site has the highest concentration, and the concentration decreases and dissipates away from the source.

Diagram of a polluted groundwater plume (via www.earthsci.org)

Diagram of a polluted groundwater plume (via www.earthsci.org)

Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: F
(Major points deducted for threat to water quality, sneakiness and long-winded disputes over “who’s going to clean up this mess?” )

Often confused with…

A chapeau with Plume by Givenchy (via www.thisislondon.co.uk)

A Plume is a feathery accessory attached to a hat or other headgear. This plume floats merrily along with the direction of the wearer, and tends to disrupt the concentration and sight lines of other persons near the Plume’s source.

Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: B
(Minor points deducted for the laughing and finger-pointing that modern Plume wearers must endure.)

Previous entries in the Visual Water Dictionary:

Slurry
Cake
Mixed Liquor
Oasis

The Visual Water Dictionary: Slurry

The Visual Water Dictionary attempts to cut confusion on ambiguous water terminology with easy visual references.

Today’s term: Slurry

Slurry is a liquid mixture of insoluble matter resulting from some pollution control techniques, such as the water used to remove impurities from coal. Slurry has been known to pollute local drinking water supplies by seeping into groundwater, lakes or streams.

Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: F
(Massive points deducted for creepy moniker and filthy constitution.)

Coal slurry water in a West Virginia lagoon. Photo © The New York Times

Often confused with Surrey

A Surrey is a light, four-wheeled horse-drawn carriage with 2 or 4 seats. The most popular models are shiny and little with fringe on the top. Surreys have been known to pollute transportation corridors with large malodorous deposits of equine waste.

Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: B
(Points deducted for low speed, rough handling and manure byproducts.)

A shiny little fringe-topped Surrey. Photo: BowmanCarriage.com

Often confused with…Slurpee

Slurpee is a semi-frozen, carbonated drink sold by 7-Eleven stores (originally sold as Icees). Slurpee drinks are served fountain-style at a frosty 28 degrees. Slurpees have been known to pollute automobiles by seeping between seats into upholstery and floor mats.

Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: A-
(Minor points deducted for obesity-inducing sugar content and the lack of drive-through purchase option.)

A typical 7-11 Slurpee dispenser

Previous entries in the Visual Water Dictionary:
Cake
Mixed Liquor
Oasis

The Visual Water Dictionary: Cake

The Visual Water Dictionary attempts to cut confusion on ambiguous water terminology with easy visual references. (Thanks to Nancy Swartz for suggesting today’s entry!)

Today’s term: Cake

1. In the final stages of wastewater treatment, Cake is the dried material produced when sludge is de-watered. It is usually used as a fertilizer or transported to a landfill.

Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: C-
(points deducted for vile odor and uneasiness about the health implications of land application.)

Dry cake produced from wastewater sludge (Photo: www.eocp.org)

Often confused with…
2. Cake is a moist and delicious material produced when certain ingredients (including water) are mixed and baked. It is often used in celebrations. Packaging and broken-down ingredients usually end up in landfill.

Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: B-
(Points deducted for caloric count; unlike wastewater cake, this type is less desirable when dry.)

A slice of cake, birthday celebratory type

A slice of cake, birthday celebratory type

 Often confused with…
3. Cake is band from Sacramento, California noted for their dry humor and droll lyrics. This Cake is usually used at parties or on individual iPod players.

Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: A
(1994, Cake recorded a song titled You Part the Waters; Cake’s recording studio is solar powered. )

The band Cake

The band Cake

Past entries in the Visual Water Dictionary:
Mixed Liquor
Oasis

The Visual Water Dictionary: Mixed Liquor

We’re workin’ hard to educate the general public on nuances in the world of water language! The Visual Water Dictionary attempts to cut confusion on water words and terminology with easy visual references. (Thanks to Kristy Henry for suggesting today’s entry!)

Today’s term: Mixed Liquor

1. In wastewater treatment, a mixture of activated sludge and water containing organic matter for activated sludge treatment in an aeration tank.
Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: B (points deducted for general grossness.)
This Mixed Liquor looks like this:

Wastewater treatment Mixed Liquor (City of Auburn, IN)

Mixed Liquor in a wastewater treatment plant

2. Alcoholic beverages which contain alcoholic liquids that are distilled, not fermented, and one or more other ingredients. Note: may or may not contain water.
Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: A (dependent on individual use/misuse).
This Mixed Liquor looks like this:

Preparing Mixed Liquor Beverages

The Visual Water Dictionary: Oasis

In our ongoing mission to educate and inform the general public on nuances in the world of water language, a new feature: the visual water dictionary, which will attempt to cut confusion on selected water words with easy visual references.

Today’s word: Oasis

1. a fertile tract in a desert where the water table approaches the surface.
Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: A
This oasis looks like this:

Huacachina (Peru)

Huacachina (Peru)

2. A British rock band that occupies a big chunk of space on my iPod. No relevance to water.
Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: A-
This Oasis looks like this:

UK band Oasis

UK band Oasis

3. A Middle Eastern bottled water brand featuring a cute palm tree “i” in its logo.
Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: C- (Points gained for tap water scarcity in arid desert locations.)
This Oasis looks like this:

Oasis brand bottled water

Photos: huacachina from thecontaminated.com, oasis bottled water from johnallan199on Flickr.