Nonpoint Source Pollution

What is Nonpoint Source Pollution?
Nonpoint source pollution is caused by various land use practices, air deposition, and many of our daily activities. This pollution can close beaches, endanger wildlife, and contaminate drinking water resources.  Unlike specific point sources such as discharge pipes, nonpoint source pollution comes from many different spots and it's often difficult to control.

What Are the Pollutants?
Nonpoint source pollutants include nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizers and septic tank systems, sediments from construction and timber harvest sites, pesticides from agricultural lands, salts from winter road treatment, and trace metals and toxic chemicals from inadequately protected landfills.

How Can Consumers Help?
Pollution prevention is essential to reducing nonpoint source pollution. Examples of pollution prevention include detention ponds for capturing sediments in stormwater runoff, and buffer strips of vegetation to separate farmed or urban lands from nearby waters. Citizens can reduce nonpoint source pollution if they:

  • Reduce or eliminate the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides on lawns and gardens,
  • Seed or mulch areas where soil can wash away.
  • Never dispose of used engine oils, paint/paint thinners, and pesticides in sewers, septic tanks, storm drains or directly onto land. Dispose of them at household hazardous waste disposal locations.
  • Take public transportation, ride in carpools, and limit driving when possible to reduce air emissions.  Properly maintain cars to eliminate oil and gasoline leaks.