Nonpoint Source Pollution: A Handbook for Local Governments

PAS Report 476

By Sanjay Jeer, Megan Lewis, AICP, Stuart Meck, FAICP, Jon Witten, Michelle Zimet

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Fresh water is one of our nation's most precious resources. Not only do we drink it, but we water food with it and use it for recreation. However, it is being threatened by nonpoint source pollution. Nonpoint source pollution is caused by water collecting pollutants on or in the ground as it migrates to lakes, rivers, or aquifers. In the worst case, the water becomes completely unusable.

The authors begin by explaining the hydrologic cycle in minute detail. Because it is difficult to understand the paths of pollution without first understanding the paths of water, figures assure that the reader understands the terminology and concepts behind the science. The authors describe different ways water may become contaminated. They explain the consequences and characteristics of different types of pollution.

The report presents four case studies of cities that confronted their pollution problems. Each study illustrates the success that awaits cities and towns that embrace pollution control.

A small glossary and ordinance language complete the book. It's filled with figures and photos. The material is accessible to all interested citizens, not just planners or scientists.

Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
Nov. 1, 1997
Adobe PDF

Table of Contents


1. Hydrologic resources in watersheds
Watershed hydrology • Places where water is stored • Lakes and ponds • Lake stratification • Groundwater • Coastal watersheds • Hydrology summary

2. Nonpoint source pollution
Sources of Contamination • Contaminant fate and transport • Water quality impacts of nonpoint source pollution

3. Controlling nonpoint source pollution: Four case studies
Best management practices • Case studies

4. Model ordinances with commentary
A model water resource protection ordinance • A model residential cluster development ordinance

Methods for determining aquifer characteristics • Rhode Island water-quality classification • Land uses and appropriate BMPs • Water quality checklist for reviewing development plans • Answer key for lake exercise • Glossary • References and bibliography