Water Quality Video Series: What is Nonpoint Source Pollution?
The largest amount of water pollution doesn't come from businesses, municipalities, or other regulated sources. Instead, most pollution comes from the oil, chemicals, and other debris washed off of land every time it rains. This is called "nonpoint source" pollution.
Why is nonpoint source pollution so bad?
Nonpoint source pollution has the largest impact on our water quality because it comes from everywhere. Many choices we do each day can cause nonpoint source pollution.
Imagine the small amount you create is multiplied by 6 million Hoosiers. Say your car drip a little bit of oil every day. 6 million drips can fill barrels up with oil. One small choice make a bigger difference than we think.
Small amounts of chemicals that are spilled on the ground stay there until water from rain or snowmelt moves it into our lakes, rivers, and streams.
Grass clippings, oil, and soil washing downstream during heavy rains, but there is more nonpoint source pollution than just what you can see. Fertilizer, herbicide, pesticide, pet waste, and road salt contribute pollutants to our waterways.
How does nonpoint source pollution get in our water?
Nonpoint source pollution is picked up and carried by water when it falls on the land. Water naturally flows down a watershed and drains into rivers, lakes, and streams. Roads, parking lots, and fields are all designed to move water quickly into natural waterways to prevent flooding, but fast-moving water can take even more nonpoint source pollution with it.
Where does nonpoint source pollution come from?
Any chemical or debris washed into waterways by precipitation is nonpoint source pollution. Here are some of the more common sources of nonpoint source pollution.
- Over-applying fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides on plants.
- Spilling oils, greases, salt, and other chemicals. on parking lots, roads, sidewalks, and other hard surfaces.
- Allowing loose soil to be washed away by the rain.
- Leaving pet waste on the ground.
- Not maintaining septic systems.
Pollution isn't cute. It may be easier to leave pet waste on the ground, but what if every Hoosier did the same thing?
Multiply your choice by the six million people living in Indiana. Remember, it is the little things that we do every day that can help, or harm, water quality the most. Take a minute to do what is best for our water.
Find out more about nonpoint source pollution, and how to improve water quality by going to this website.
It's your watershed, your home, your future!