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NC Department of Health and Human Services
DPH Environmental Health Section
N.C. Public Health Home

On-Site Water Protection Branch

Non-Point Source Pollution Program

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.

Goals of the Non-Point Source Pollution Program

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:

  1. Collaborate with other state agencies on integrated planning mechanisms for improved water quality in North Carolina.
  2. Assess and document:
    1. Treatment performance of conventional, innovative and alternative system components.
    2. Potential effects of on-site and community wastewater systems on ground- and surface water quality, and;
    3. The extent of water quality impairment from high-density on-site wastewater systems.
  3. Develop, evaluate and disseminate information related to:
    1. Programs for improved life cycle best management practices (BMPs) for conventional and advanced onsite wastewater system components;
    2. Measures to mitigate water quality impacts.
  4. Develop, coordinate and facilitate education and technology transfer to government agencies, industry practitioners and the public.
  5. Promote pertinent research and wastewater infrastructure improvement through solicitation of federal, state and/or local funding for public and private nonprofit organizations and institutions.

Non-Point Source Program Information

On-Site Water Protection Branch Information