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Polluted Runoff: Nonpoint Source Pollution

Nonpoint Source: What You Can Do

What You Can Do to Prevent Nonpoint Source Pollution

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Urban Stormwater Runoff

  • Keep litter, pet wastes, leaves and debris out of street gutters and storm drains—these outlets drain directly to lake, streams, rivers and wetlands.
  • Apply lawn and garden chemicals sparingly and according to directions.
  • Dispose of used oil, antifreeze, paints and other household chemicals properly—not in storm sewers or drains. If your community does not already have a program for collecting household hazardous wastes, ask your local government to establish one.
  • Clean up spilled brake fluid, oil, grease and antifreeze. Do not hose them into the street where they can eventually reach local streams and lakes.
  • Control soil erosion on your property by planting ground cover and stabilizing erosion-prone areas.
  • Encourage local government officials to develop construction erosion and sediment control ordinances in your community.
  • Have your septic system inspected and pumped, at a minimum every three to five years, so that it operates properly.
  • Purchase household detergents and cleaners that are low in phosphorous to reduce the amount of nutrients discharged into our lakes, streams and coastal waters.


  • Become involved in local mining issues by voicing your concerns about acid mine drainage and reclamation projects in your area.

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  • Use proper logging and erosion control practices on your forest lands by ensuring proper construction, maintenance, and closure of logging roads and skid trails.
  • Report questionable logging practices to state and federal forestry and state water quality agencies.

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  • Manage animal manures to minimize losses to surface water and ground water.
  • Reduce soil erosion and nturient loss by using appropriate conservation practice systems and other applicable best management practices.
  • Use planned grazing systems on pasture and rangeland.
  • Dispose of pesticides, containers, and tank rinsate in an approved manner.
  • Work with conservation partners locally including the Soil and Water Conservation Districts to understand local strategies.

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Learn More

Learn how to protect water quality from urban runoff.

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