Non-Point Pollution


Nonpoint pollution is created when rain falls to the earth or snow melts --- and the water runs across fields or pavement, taking with it topsoil, bacteria, fertilizers, pesticides, pet waste, oil, and many other toxic or harmful materials. This land run-off pollution has received the awkward name of "nonpoint" because it is the opposite of a direct pipe or "point" pollution discharge.

Nonpoint pollution runs into most bodies of water across the world. The runoff is created in everyday, normal occurrences: such as working on one's car and running the car, fertilizing lawns and farm fields, construction of roads and buildings, plowing farm fields, and maintaining roads during the wintertime. Nonpoint pollution is one of the most hazardous causes of water pollution in our area.

Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution, also known as polluted runoff, is a leading cause of water quality problems in Wisconsin. So in 2011, the DNR and the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection allocated nearly $20 million in state and federal funds to counties for nonpoint source pollution abatement activities. Even with this work, successfully managing polluted runoff remains a challenge to improving and protecting the state’s water quality.

cows in stream

In Wisconsin, more than 40% of streams, 90% of inland lakes, many of Wisconsin's Great Lakes harbors and wetlands, and substantial areas of groundwater have been affected by runoff pollution; which in turn causes harm to fish and other aquatic life, destroys habitats, reduces drinking water quality, and reduces the recreational and economic uses of our lakes and streams.

Most of this pollution is avoidable. Clean Water Action Council is working to build awareness and respond to the problem.

For More Information

© Clean Water Action Council

P.O. Box 9144

Green Bay, WI 54308

(920) 421-8885

Office location:
A307 MAC Hall, UW-Green Bay
2420 Nicolet Drive
Green Bay, WI 54311