Program Overview and Mission

Huzzah, Madison Co., MO

What is the Difference Between Point Source and Nonpoint Source Pollution?

Point source pollution is generally treated wastewater that is discharged from the pipes of industrial facilities or domestic wastewater treatment plants into a receiving stream or water body.

Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution, on the other hand, is untreated pollution that generally cannot be traced back to a single source.  Often, nonpoint source pollution is traced to multiples sources (both natural and manmade) within a watershed, such as stormwater runoff, agricultural practices, land disturbance and development activities, or ineffective onsite wastewater systems.

NPS accounts for a significant amount of the pollution that enters our ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, and groundwater. Nonpoint source pollution enters waterways as water flows over land and across the landscape during rainfall, snowmelt and irrigation events. The runoff picks up and transports pollutants such as animal waste products, oil and grease, pharmaceutical products, bacteria, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and sediment that can impair a water's beneficial uses (e.g. swimming and fishing). Polluted Stormwater runoff can harm wildlife, damage aquatic habitat, cause excessive aquatic plant growth, cause odors, devalue property, impact recreational uses and overall damage the landscape. Each one of us, knowingly or unknowingly, contributes to nonpoint source pollution in our daily activities.

Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act

Congress enacted Section 319 of the Clean Water Act in 1987, establishing a national program to control nonpoint sources of water pollution. Nonpoint source pollution is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground and carrying natural and human-made pollutants into lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, estuaries, other coastal waters, and ground water. Atmospheric deposition and hydrologic modification are also sources of nonpoint pollution. Under Section 319(a), all states have addressed nonpoint source pollution by developing nonpoint source assessment reports that identify nonpoint source pollution problems and the nonpoint sources responsible for the water quality problems. Under Section 319(b), all states have also adopted management programs to control nonpoint source pollution. Since 1990, Congress has annually appropriated grant funds to states under Section 319(h) to help them to implement those management programs.

Missouri's NPS Grant Program

The good news is that NPS pollution can be reduced by becoming aware of how land-use relates to the quality of our rivers, lakes and streams. NPS 319 implementation grants have accomplished significant results in the control and mitigation of NPS pollution in Missouri. But fulfilling the water quality protection mission of the Missouri NPS Management Program can be accomplished only with the cooperation of other resource agencies and the citizens of the state.  As administrator of the NPS program, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and its partners continue to make significant progress in the protection of water, as well as air and land resources.

NPS grant funds are provided from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act.  Funds are used to address NPS pollution and are administered from the EPA, Region 7 Office through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Funds can be used to address NPS pollution through a variety of activities such as, information, education, protection, planning, conservation, and restoration activities that focus on improving water quality. Eligible sponsors include state and local agencies, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) status.  Funding is made available through Missouri's Minigrant and Major Subgrant programs.

The overall goal of Missouri's grant program is to provide citizens with the knowledge and ability to improve their common land-use practices and to protect water quality. The 319 funding program emphasizes projects that restore the quality of waters on the state's 303(d) List of impaired waters due to NPS pollution. However, other high quality NPS projects are encouraged. For priorities that facilitate the selection process, refer to The State of Missouri's Nonpoint Source Management Plan.

Missouri's Mission Statement

The mission of Missouri's nonpoint source management program is to achieve aquatic life usage in 50 percent of nonpoint source impaired waters by 2030.

Goal A: Water Quality Assessment, Monitoring and Prioritization

Continue and enhance statewide water quality assessment processes to evaluate water quality and prioritize watersheds affected by nonpoint source pollution.

Goal B: Water Quality Improvement and Protection

Improve water quality by implementing nonpoint source related project and other activities.

Goal C: State Nonpoint Source Program Management

Maintain a viable, relevant, and effective Nonpoint Source Management Program with the flexibility necessary to meet changing environmental conditions and regulations.