Following the passage of legislation in the 1960s and 1970s aimed at cleaning the air and waters in the United States, rigorous efforts have focused on point source pollution control. The term identifies sources of pollution that emanate from a discreet and clearly identifiable point. The Environmental Protection Agency lists the following structures that fit the definition: pipes, ditches, channels, tunnels, conduits, wells, rolling stock concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO), landfill leachate collection systems, water-borne vessels from which pollutants may be discharged.

Point source is distinguished from “non-point” source pollution, such as precipitation runoff from an urban area that is not caught in a sewer system, or agricultural pollution from the seepage into the soil of fertilizers and insecticides. Discharge from a power plant smoke ...

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