Nonpoint Source Pollution
Today one of the leading threats to water resources and the quality of this resource is (NPS) Nonpoint source pollution. NPS pollution does not originate from a single, specific source (that would be Point source Pollution) but is generated by a variety of activities spread over a broad area.
Everyone contributes to NPS pollution through many different daily activites. Driving an automobile, washing your car, mowing the grass, or walking a dog are just a few of the activities that can contribute to NPS pollution. Every time it rains, pollutants such as soil particles, pesticides, fertilizers, detergents, oil, grass clippings, litter and animal waste are released into our waterways from plowed fields, parking lots, streets, rooftops, and neighborhood yards. The more we are aware of these potential NPS pollutants, the more measures we can take to prevent them from impacting the quality of our water in a negative manner.
→1st Step: Awareness
Do you recognize any of these Non-Point Source Pollutants?
Take your used motor oil to East Central Recycling (ECR) off Cenntennial Ave. during regular business hours, Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm, Sat. 8am to Noon.
Check your vehicle frequently for leaks. If a leak has already occured make sure you clean it up with some "quick dry" absorbant such as kitty litter, sweep it up and dispose of it properly in the trash.
Ask your Golf Course if they ever would consider "going green" and using less pesticides and fertilizers on the their course. Encourage them to protect surrounding waterways by planting native plants and vegatation to help filter stormwater run-off.
Have your septic tank inspected annually and have it pumped at least once every three years. Use caution in disposing materials down the drain. Household chemicals can kill the bacteria that make the system work and non-degradable materials (cigarette butts, etc.) can clog the system.
Unfortunately, most people do not understand the threat of non-point source pollution to our water resources. They do not realize that everyday activities such as fertilizing the lawn and applying fertilizer minutes before a rainstorm can contribute to water pollution. Many people do not believe that their preventative actions can really make a difference, but they can! Once everyone figures out how they contribute to the problem and that they can be a part of the solution, the threat of nonpoint source pollution will decline.
(Information taken from, Implementing an Effective NPS Pollution Education Program)
The Water Cycle
This illustration depicts a "Natural Water Cycle" and shows how elements of nature work together to sustainably manage stormwater and rain.
This illustration depicts what happens to the natural "Water Cycle" once aspects of the urban environment (such as impervious surfaces including roofs, streets, and sidewalks) prevent stormwater infiltration from recharging our groundwater.
This illustration depicts a more "Sustainable Urban Water Cycle" that has strategically re-introduced natural elements (such as a Wetland and Riparian Buffer) to help filter stormwater run-off before entering local waterways.
→2nd Step: Prevention
Managing Your Watershed
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Check out these links below listing facts, survey results and other tips and info regarding Stormwater Pollution Prevention.
Residential Pollution Prevention Practices:
Municipal Pollution Prevention Practices:
→ 3rd Step: Spread the Word!
Citizens are the eyes and ears of the community. Now that you are aware of what can harm our water quality you also have the ability to educate your local neighborhood association, friends, family, businesses, etc. Encourage your neighborhood to consider a "Neighborhood Watershed Program" encouraging everyone to utilize resident best management practices such as rain barrels, rain gardens, illegal downspout disconnections, composting and planting native plants.
Report suspicious actions such as dumping anything other than rain into our stormdrains, pipes directly going into the river, culverts releasing liquids during non-rain events, large amounts of sediment erosion onto a street or waterway, illegal dumping, etc. You may report such actions anonymously by calling the Stormwater Office at 765-747-4896.
→ Next Step: Get Involved!
Watch this slideshow highlighting local projects in your community!
For more info or to schedule an educational workshop contact:
Stormwater Management Department
300 N High St.
Muncie, IN 47305
Fax- 765 -747-4719
NEED TO KNOW DEFINITIONS:
Impervious - The characteristic of a material which prevents the infiltration or passage of liquid through it. This may apply to roads, streets, parking lots, rooftops and sidewalks.
Nonpoint Source Pollution - Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution, unlike pollution from industrial and sewage treatment plants, comes from many diffuse sources. NPS pollution is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters, and even our underground sources of drinking water
Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO) - Excess flow (combined wastewater and stormwater runoff) discharged to a receiving water from a combined sewer network when the capacity of the sewer network and / or treatment plant is exceeded, typically during storm events.
Bio Swale/Bio Filter - Grass depression areas such as engineered channels or swales that are used to collect and filter urban stormwater. This term was developed in the Pacific Northwest.
Riparian Buffer- The land area which borders a stream or river and which directly affects and is affected by the water quality. This land area often coincides with the maximum water surface elevation of the 100 year storm.
Wetland- Those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas.
1. The National Geographic Society. The Conservation Fund. Undated. Water: Taking A New Track on Nonpoint Source Pollution. Terrene Institute. Washington, D.C.
Other Sources Cited
Information taken from, Implementing an Effective NPS Pollution Education Program (p. 1-2). MRI, Florida Community College (Consortium for Pollution Prevention Education), Department of Environmental Protection Florida, Environmental Protection Agency.
Stormwater Manager’s Resource Center. http://www.stormwatercenter.net