There are many potential sources of water quality problems. “Point” source pollution comes from a pipe, discrete point or ditch. Point sources are generally associated with the discharge of treated effluent from large wastewater treatment plants. “Non-point” sources include pollution that reaches waterways via rainfall runoff (stormwater), atmospheric deposition and groundwater flow. Non-point sources are often difficult to identify. They represent the cumulative effects of many small activities such as pesticide or fertilizer application, construction site runoff or the use of onsite or decentralized wastewater treatment (septic systems). These are systems designed for collection, treatment and dispersal/reuse of wastewater from individual homes, clusters of homes, isolated communities, industries or institutional facilities at or near the point of waste generation.
The NPS Pollution Program in the Onsite Water Protection Branch was established in 1997 with the support of US EPA 319 funding and has continued to date. The NPS Coordinator implements activities of the onsite program as part of North Carolina basinwide water quality management plans. The Coordinator’s role is to: