Nonpoint Source Pollution
What are some of the environmental issues in regards to water?
Nonpoint source pollution (NSP) is toxic runoff from a variety of sources. The land is contaminated through some use. Then, precipitation transports the polluted runoff to areas sometimes far from its source. NSP is an issue both in urban and rural settings. It is a major cause of water pollution in the United States.
Agricultural runoff illustrates the conflict between meeting the needs of the people and impacting the environment. In this case, the environment has suffered at the expense of agricultural development. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farms have increased in size and efficiency. This increase translates into more pesticide and fertilizer use, larger livestock operations, and greater use of irrigation water.
Urban runoff is a function of impervious surfaces like roads and the pollutants found in urban areas. These contaminants include oil and gasoline on roads, hazardous household waste, and sediment from soil erosion.
The solutions for NSP include a move toward sounder farming practices. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that up to 90 percent of the sedimentation caused by farming can be controlled through best practices management. Likewise, reducing the amount of impervious surfaces will prevent urban runoff and slow soil erosion.