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Image by Hayley Murray

What is Nonpoint Source Pollution

Nonpoint Source Pollution (NPS) is the result of rainfall or snowmelt that moves through the ground picking up human-made pollutants and depositing it into our lakes, rivers, and streams. NPS is often hard to pinpoint because it comes with every day human activities.

Some examples include oil, faulty septic systems, pet waste, salt, acid drainage, grease or other urban runoff, excess fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides.

Why Should We Care

Let's take a scenario of a rain event or snow melt. The water flows across places like parking lots and it picks up contaminates such as oil and gas. When you see a puddle that carries a sheen on it, you are actually looking at an instance of nonpoint source pollution.

Flowing from a parking lot to a stream, river or lake, often nonpoint source pollution can find its way to the ocean. Pinpointing the source of the pollution is hard, not like pollution coming from a factory that empties out of a pipe. 

Nonpoint source pollution can have multiple negative impacts:


Nonpoint source pollution has negative impacts on the ecosystem. When chemicals enter our waterways it can be harmful to aquatic life. 

Human Health-

Nonpoint source pollution when it makes its way to our waterways and infects aquatic life, is then transferred into our body tissue. This can have long term effects.


According to, there is no comprehensive estimate to the cost of water pollution in the US, but impacts include costs like health expenditures, reduced economic productivity, and loss to tourism.

Picking Flowers


Turn a problem into a beautiful solution by planting a rain garden. Rain gardens slow down rainwater allowing it to absorb into the ground and get filtered vs collecting ground pollution and heading to our streams, rivers, and lakes. For more information click here.

Hay Barrels


Creating buffer strips will encourage the growth of a healthy riparian corridor in your agriculture fields.

Person with dog


Pet waste contains the nutrients that can lead to E Coli. Picking up and disposing of pet waste properly can reduce this. Using biodegradable bags are even better. These can be purchased at most stores where pet supplies are sold.

What Can We Do

Dumping Sites

Illegal Dumping

Depositing waste materials improperly leads to pollution that contributes to non-point source pollution. Ensuring that we dispose of waste materials properly is another way we can do our part to reduce non-point source pollution.

Image by Etienne Girardet


Fertilizers contain levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are needed in varying degrees for garden plants to effectively grow. When applying fertilizer ensure to follow directions. Over or sloppy applications can lead to the fertilizer run-off.

Septic Tanks System Installing


Properly working septic systems should NOT release anything harmful into the environment. Septic tanks allow solids, grease, and liquids to separate in the tank. Bacteria break down the solids and moves the treated liquid into the drain field. It is imperative to maintain your septic system.


Shoreline Buffer Zones

Buffer zones can help protect your banks from erosion, regulate water temperature, as well as filter pollutants from storm water. 

Green Hills


906-77-1550 x101



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