Nonpoint source pollution, also known as polluted runoff, occurs when rainfall flows over and through the land picking up contaminates such as sediment, nutrients, or bacteria. These pollutants are then carried by streams or storm sewers to our lakes, river, wetlands, coastal waters, and ground waters. Nonpoint source pollution is contrasted with point source pollution where discharges occur to a body of water at a single location, such as from industry or wastewater treatment plant discharge pipes. It can result from everyday activities such as fertilizing a lawn, watering livestock in a stream, constructing roads, or even pet waste. Because it comes from so many different sources, it is difficult to regulate and no specific solution may solve the problem. In fact, nonpoint source is the greatest threat to our nation's water quality.
In 1987 the Clean Water Act was amended to include Section 319(h) to address nonpoint source pollution. With this amendment, the establishment of annual Section 319 Grant Funding for designated state and tribal agencies to implement their approved nonpoint source management programs.
The Alabama Nonpoint Source Management Program
uses a voluntary approach to address nonpoint source pollution. The program relies on best management practices, education and outreach, technology transfer, monitoring and assessments, and resource assistance using a balanced statewide and watershed focused restoration approach. Local partnerships and citizen input are primary implementation components. Clean Water Action Section 319(h) grants
are available to fund targeted, on-the-ground, implementation practices to restore impaired waterbodies in our state.
2014 Alabama Nonpoint Source Management Program Annual Report
EPA Region 4 Nonpoint Source Programs and Success Stories