Nonpoint Source Pollution

Controlling Nonpoint Source Pollution

Sediment fence

Sediment fences such as this are used to control erosion, trap large materials, filter sediment from rainwater, and slow runoff. Click on image for larger view.

While research, monitoring, and assessment look at the larger environmental effects of nonpoint source pollution, taking measures to stop pollution before it begins is also essential for controlling the problem. This is especially true in coastal communities. According to a NOAA Coastal Population Trends Report, about 153 million people lived in coastal areas in 2003. This is 53 percent of the total U.S. population. Between 1980 and 2003, the total coastal population increased by 28 percent, or 33 million people (Crossett et al., 2004.) If coastal populations continue to grow, the chances for more nonpoint source pollutants such as nutrients, sediments, pesticides, and other toxic chemicals to enter waterbodies via runoff increases.

Even though the exact locations of nonpoint source pollution cannot be identified, scientists know that certain environments and operations produce a high volume of pollution. Experts have developed systems to reduce and even eliminate pollution from these places. Listed below are some strategies that urban and suburban areas, agricultural operations, forestry operations, and marinas use to decrease nonpoint source pollution.

retaining fences

Similar to sediment fences, retaining fences are used to prevent contaminants from entering aquatic environments. Click on image for larger view.

Urban and Suburban Areas


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