Source: Occurs naturally in rocks and minerals. It is used in many industrial processes such as paper, textile, and pulp production, as well as mining processes. It may be used in water treatment processes in association with copper or aluminum (alum). Sulfates are also used in pesticides, fertilizers, and soaps. May contaminate surface water from rainwater or atmospheric interactions.
Summary: Sulfate is a product of the deprotonation of sulfuric acid. It is found naturally in minerals, and may be precipitated as a dissolved component of rainwater. Sulfur dioxide is an atmospheric constituent formed by fossil fuel combustion or from natural volcano emissions. Sulfur dioxide may react with water molecules to form sulfuric acid which is precipitated out. Sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere may cause surface water pollution of sulfates. Sulfate is an anion that forms many different compounds. These compounds are used in a wide range of industries and have many sources of environmental pollution. Sulfate compounds may be used in fertilizers, pesticides, soaps, and dyes. They are heavily used in the production of paper, textiles, and pulp. These compounds are also used in water treatment and mining processes. Alum (aluminum sulfate) is added to water to create flocculation, while copper sulfate is added to control algae. Sulfate is present in moderate amounts in ocean water.