ATLANTA — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded $3.77 million to the state Department of Environmental Quality to support management of nonpoint sources of water pollution, the EPA announced Tuesday. The funding will be used for a variety of projects designed to improve water quality in priority watersheds across the state.
“Improving the Nation’s water is one of EPA’s highest priorities under the Trump Administration,” said administrator Scott Pruitt in a statement. “This grant funds state-led programs that are working for communities throughout North Carolina.”
Nonpoint source pollution is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over the ground. This runoff picks up natural and man-made pollutants as it flows, eventually depositing the material into lakes, rivers, and groundwater. This type of pollution can be difficult to manage since it cannot be traced to a specific source. Controlling nonpoint source pollution is especially important since one in three Americans get their drinking water from public systems that rely on seasonal and rain-dependent streams.
North Carolina has identified more than 40 watersheds across the state as priorities for restoration using 319 grant funds. EPA’s grant will help North Carolina fund NPS management projects and programs including:
- Local watershed planning and restoration
- Water quality monitoring
- Ground water protection
- Forestry management
- Agricultural management
- Erosion and sediment control
- Septic tank management
- Nutrient reductions
- Permitting and Enforcement
Nonpoint sources of pollution continue to be recognized as the nation’s largest remaining cause of surface water quality impairments. It can contribute to problems like harmful algal blooms, erosion, and bacteria contamination of surface and groundwater.
Nonpoint sources of pollution include agricultural runoff, urban runoff, abandoned mine drainage, failing on-site disposal systems, and pollution caused by changes to natural stream channels. Congress enacted Section 319 of the Clean Water Act in 1987 to control nonpoint sources of water pollution. Through Section 319, EPA provides states with grant funding to implement their nonpoint source programs and to support local watershed projects to improve water quality.