Thankfully, the U.S. has come a long way from the days when untreated, hazardous waste was habitually poured into the nation's waters by sewage treatment plants, factories, and other specific points of discharge. But pollution that can't be directly linked to a source has proven to be far more difficult to contain. Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution occurs when rainfall or snowmelt moves across land, picks up pollutants such as fertilizers and bacteria from pet waste, and then deposits these pollutants into lakes, rivers, coastal waters, and groundwater. According to EPA, NPS pollution is now the biggest cause of water quality problems in the country.
NEIWPCC facilitates an NPS Workgroup, comprised of NPS program managers from the New England states, New York State, and EPA. The workgroup meets three to four times a year and helps all parties involved stay abreast of developments in program policies and funding. Federal funding of NPS projects is supported by Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, and each year, EPA issues a new version of its "319 Guidance," which outlines what types of projects are eligible to receive funding. The workgroup meetings provide an opportunity for our member states to discuss the program guidance and share updates on their efforts to target and manage different nonpoint sources. In light of recent efforts to integrate permitting programs, the workgroup meetings also provide a forum for the NPS Workgroup to collaborate with other programs to more effectively track NPS load reductions.
NEIWPCC also coordinates the Annual NPS Conference, a two-day gathering that brings together all those in New England and New York State involved in NPS management. We have also coordinated NPS outreach workshops and developed various NPS-related publications.
Please see the links below for more information on special resources and projects completed under this program. For more information, contact Kristen McQuaide, the coordinator of our Nonpoint Source Workgroup.
Atmospheric Deposition Fact Sheets
What starts as air pollution may end up as water pollution as dangerous compounds emitted into the air fall into surface waters. In fact, nitrogen, sulfur, and mercury compounds-pollutants of particular concern in the Northeast-make their way into water primarily through atmospheric deposition.
In 2003, NEIWPCC, our member states, and EPA-New England collaborated to produce a series of fact sheets titled, From Air to Water: The Challenge of Atmospheric Deposition. The fact sheets describe the mechanisms of atmospheric deposition, its impact on nonpoint source pollution in watersheds, monitoring and modeling strategies, and the need for collaboration in the fight against this phenomenon. The publication was funded through a CWA Section 319 Grant provided to NEIWPCC by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.
Nonpoint Source Pollution Educational Brochure
NEIWPCC has assisted our member states to implement their Section 319 funded projects by providing outreach tools and workshops. A brochure titled "What Do You Know About Nonpoint Source Pollution?" was developed in 2000 and disseminated by NEIWPCC and the Nonpoint Source Workgroup to help educate citizens about the sources and effects of this problem.