Nonpoint Source Pollution in Our Watersheds
In the past, most water quality problems were traced to the most obvious point such as a pipe or disposal site. This is known as point-source pollution. Today, however, we recognize that individuals can have a huge impact on their local watershed. Activities like walking the dog, taking care of the lawn and driving the car leave behind pollutants. As rain water moves through the watershed, it picks up bacteria and chemicals, and carries them to our streams, rivers, lakes and coasts. Improper disposal of motor oil, pet waste and over fertilization of a lawn all contribute to this pollution. Because of its many random sources, we all share responsibility for this pollution — called nonpoint-source pollution. A watershed’s most common nonpoint-source pollutants are bacteria and nutrients. When rain water washes the bacteria to nearby streams and lakes, it makes those water bodies unsafe for swimming and fishing.
Our individual actions can directly affect the health and quality of our watersheds. We are all dependent upon our very limited supply of freshwater resources and should care for them accordingly.