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<pubnumber>841F96004A</pubnumber>
<title>Nonpoint Pointers:  Nonpoint Source Pollution:  The Nation's Largest Water Quality Problem, Pointer No. 1</title>
<pages>2</pages>
<pubyear>1996</pubyear>
<provider>NEPIS</provider>
<access>online</access>
<operator>BO</operator>
<scandate>12/27/96</scandate>
<origin>hardcopy</origin>
<type>single page tiff</type>
<keyword>nps water pollution nonpoint epa source quality nfs clean pollutants ground sources lakes picks rivers agriculture land coastal areas runoff</keyword>

^ ;• j, •/ ..-••; 	 •j—" -• i**" f ^ v. "' "x "~ """_ '•>>-• t X
" -•'.",' ' J •-"''' Un.'M States- ;
; ^ jr _ .-..Environmental Protection "
.- r^'~^\ • • ^ Agency' " • '", ' '"
Y- , ." ' -i - ' ' ' -"" " '
~~ —,' "'"' ^ .•"• ~.<:',.. ' '•~~"'~~,
. Office of Water - r
y(45Q3F) .' " ~'"^ :
_ _ -• ^ ,,_ _ . ^j-:.-'^ ' - ' ">,,.-- ..
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~ "EPA-841-E-96-004A , . ;'
iy|arch1996, . ".- ' -'„-,
                           Nonpoint  Pointers
                          Understanding and managing nonpoint source pollution in your community      __
             Nonpoint Source
             Pollution:  The
             Nation's  Largest           c
             Water  Quality  Problem
             '•v  (fa-  "i S'7^- „- ; ?'-' '  -..' " " ••'-?-••+..„      -•;•-  .    .  "
.-  "  .    '         -. "     •.. '.^•:   - ._,   .-,,  ••;•;'  ' x   — .'.--> '
   Why is there still water that'^s too dirty for swimrnihg, fishing, or drink-
 ing? Why are native species of plants and animals disappearing from many
 rivers, lakes, and coastal waters?  /"./  v   - '",.     '."•":

  '-  , The United States hasmade^trgmendous-advances in the past 25 years to,
 _ clean upthe .aquatic environment by controlling poUutionirom industries
  ^nd sewage treatment plants. Unfortunately,_,we did not do enough to
  control pollution from diffuse, or nonpoint, sources. Today, nonpoint source
 " (]^FS) pollution remains- the Nation's largest source of wafer quality prob-
  lems. It's the main reas.on that approximately 40 percent-of surveyed rivers,
  lakes, and estuaries arefiot clean enough to-meet basic uses such as fishing
 "Jlbir,swimm.ih'g.,    '     ,  '-,•'""''   .;."- "        -   '  '    " "-'-    ~"
    ' U ^  I  '  , ^ - }/>' •' • I"' ji'-'S"' • ^^~.  *'• • ' '•  . , ' l^-  -J. "'• I"*' '' '" *•> ( ' ._'1 """_   '   S ',"'
 ^  , NFS pollution occurs when rainfall, snowmelt, or irrigation rims over
  land or through the ground,,picks up pollutants, and,deposits them into
 "^~7   rivers, lakes, and coastal waters or introduces'them into ground water.
        /Imagine^ the path taken by a drop of rain from the time it hits the .
                                   - ground to when it readies a fiver,
                                  ^_1 ground water, or the ocean. Any
                                    pollutant it picks up on its journey
                                    can become part of the NFS
                                    problem.. NFS pollution also
                                    includes adverse changes to the— -
                                    vegetatiori/shape, and flow of -
                                    streams and~other aquatic systern's7"
                                   —     NFS pollution is Widespread
    -  ,  ::•.,-..( ' • ••-   -- -/  ,^_ • •-•';,.-' becausg.it can occur any .time,.
  activities disturb the land or wafer_Agriculture/ forestry, grazing, septic  -
 ^systems,, recreational boating, urban runoff, cohstruction, physical changes
 ; to~stream channels, and habitat degradation are potential sources of NPS  ~"
 - pollution. Careless or uninformed household management also contributes
  to NFS pollution problems.     ,-!   '-''"'  ~~ -:".                  •_  ..
        -The latest National Water Quality Inventory indicates that agriculture
 -'is the,jl,eadving contributor to water quality impairments, degrading 60    i
  percent of the impaired river-miles and half ojFjthelmpaired lake acreage
  surveyed by statesT territories, and tribes. Runoff from urban areas is the
,  largest source of water quality impairments to surveyed estuaries (areas
  near the coast where sea water mixes with freshwater).  •"
             •- . ^ _  ..  •—-, -   . r~   .--'#' '^  \ - ,_ \ -  -~ . '  '     t   • •   ~\ "~~~S -v '
 J'he most cornmon^NPS.pollu-
 tants"are, soils jind nutrients
 that wash intp. water bodies
 from agricultural land,
-'construction site's^and.other .._
 areas of disturbance r
  :   ^  -'    : 1i/  •"-  . '•'.:'''-  '

                                                                    Three Leading Sources of

                                                                           * "* JE  - *A
                                                                   Rank
Rivers-
                                                                       Agriculture
                                                                        Municipal
                                                                        point
                                                                        sources
                                                                        Stream/,
                                                                        habitat.
                                                                        changes
                                                                                Lakes
        Agriculture
        •Municipal
         point
         sources
        Urban runoff
                 Estuaries
Urban runoff
 Municipal
 point
 sources
Agriculture
                                                                     Source: National Water Quality Inventory, 19&21
                                                                                   J, -   *''"
                                                                   .NPS pollution occurs when
                                                                   water runs over land or through
                                                                   the ground, picks up pollutants,
                                                                   and deposits them in surface
                                                                   waters^or introduces them into
                                                                   ground; water.   .
 image: 








   .-iiif'iiH	r
   ':;^g*2

   if   RI
 RELATED PUBLICATIONS

•  Additional fact sheets in the
   Nonpoint Pointers series
   (EPA-841-F-96-004)
•  EPA Journal, Vol. 17, No. 5,
   Nov/Dec 1991, (EPA-22K-
   1005)
•  Managing Nonpoint Source
   Pollution: Final Report to
   Congress on Section 319 of
   the Clean Water Act (EPA-
   506/9-90)
»  NPS News-Notes (EPA-841 -
   N-92-003)
•  Polluted (EPA-841-F-94-
   005)
•  The Quality of Our Nation's
   Water: 1994 (EPA-841-S-95-
   004)
*  The Watershed Protection
   Approach (EPA-503/9-92/
   002)
To order any of the above EPA
documents call or fax the
National Center for Environmen-
tal Publications and Information.
Tel (513)489-8190
Fax (513)489-8695
       FOR MORE INFORMATION
       U.S. Environmental Protection
       Agency
       Nonpoint Source Control Branch
       Washington DC 20460
       Internet Address:
       http://www.epa.gov/owow/nps/
       index.html
                                A
                                     at a water
                                                         Schematic of a Watershed
   Themost common NPS pollutants are sediment and nutrients. These
wash into water bodies from agricultural land, small and medium-sized
animal feeding operations, construction sites/and other areas of distur-
bance. Other common NPS pollutants include pesticides, pathogens (bacte-
ria and viruses), salts, oil, grease, toxic chemicals, and heavy metals. Beach
closures, destroyed habitat, unsafe drinking water, fish kills, and many
other severe environmental and human health problems result from NPS
pollutants. They also spoil the beauty of healthy, clean water habitats. Each
year the United States spends millions of dollars'"to_restpre and protect the
areas damaged by NPS'pollutants.       .,--,..

Progress
   During the last 10 years, our country has made significant headway in
addressing NPS pollution. At the federal level, the Nonpoint Source Man-
agement Program was established by the 1987 Clean Water Act Amend-
ments, and the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Program was established by the
1990 Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments. Other recent federal
programs, as well as state, territorial, tribal and local programs also tackle
NPS problems.
   In addition, public and private groups have developed and used pollu-
tion prevention and reduction initiatives and NPS pollution controls, known
as management measures, to clean up our water efficiently. Water quality
monitoring and environmental education supported by government agen-
cies, tribes, industry, volunteer groups," and schools have provided informa-
tion about NPS pollution and have helped to determine the effectiveness of
                                                     \V2*
                                                   techniques
                                                           approach has also helped communities. It looks not
                                                        .y buralscTtEe~ent!r~ei afeatEat drains into it"This allows
IHI:::;;!;,*:'*;,!,;!'!:
	'^*fite^a
       flit S'S
        •	I; j
                                             ^ust as important, more citizens are practicing water conservation
                                          ^parhapating'in streamwaT^"EeSi cleanups, and other environmental
                                            ties sponsored 6y community-b~ased organizations. In doing so,
                                            -" --Mress^e Nftipn^argest water quality problem, and ensure that
                                                 of ourrivers^ lakes, ahcf coastafwaters Become safe for swim-
                                                 •iiii«»iinii««iB^^
                                                    drinking, and aquatic life.

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