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Pollution is the release and spread of contaminants that degrade the environment and impair human health. Point source pollution has a discrete source, like an effluent pipe or smokestack, while nonpoint source pollution cannot be traced to a specific point of origin. Examples of nonpoint source pollution are pesticides from a farm field washing into a stream and soil erosion at a construction site. Controlling this type of pollution is challenging because there is no specific location to target and because inputs of nonpoint pollution are often intermittent.

Sources of nonpoint pollution are varied: streets and highways, farm fields and pastures, construction, logging, mining, lawns, and even pet wastes. Most pollutants from these sources are carried in runoff following a rainstorm or snowmelt. Nutrients, sediments, toxins, ...

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