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Water Glossary: A B C D E F G H IL M N O PQ R S T UV WZ

ultraviolet (UV) light

Similar to light produced by the sun; produced by special lamps. As organisms are exposed to UV light, they are damaged or killed.


unconfined aquifer

An aquifer that discharges and recharges with an upper surface that is the water table.


underground storage tanks

Large tanks buried underground for storing liquids, e.g., gasoline, heating oil; potential source of groundwater contamination if the tank leaks.


uranium (U)

A metallic element that is naturally occurring with three main radioactive isotopes (i.e., U-234, U-235, and U-238). Uranium is carcinogenic and can also cause damage to the kidney. Total uranium is regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency.


usable storage capacity

The quantity of groundwater of acceptable quality that can be economically withdrawn from storage.



United States Bureau of Reclamation.



(1) A minute organism not visible by light microscopy. A virus is an obligate parasite dependent on nutrients inside cells for its metabolic and reproductive needs. It consists of a strand of either deoxyribonucleic acid or ribonucleic acid, but not both, [inside] a protein covering called a capsid.*


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