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WQD | Nonpoint Source Pollution Mitigation

Watershed Improvement and Protection Unit

Nonpoint Source Pollution Mitigation

Revised On: June 19, 2024 - 9:45 a.m.

What is Nonpoint Source Pollution?

Nonpoint source pollution occurs when rainfall or snowmelt, moving over and through the ground, picks up and carries natural and human-caused pollutants, depositing them into lakes, rivers, and streams. Some examples of nonpoint sources of surface water pollution include:

  • Recreation
  • Domesticated animals
  • Wildlife
  • Agriculture
  • Irrigation
  • Septic systems
  • Abandoned/inactive mines

How is Nonpoint Source Pollution Being Addressed?

Diverse partnerships and watershed projects are integral in mitigating the diffuse nature of nonpoint source pollution. Arizona’s watersheds depend on landowners, local watershed groups, industry, and other state, local, and federal government agencies to voluntarily reduce nonpoint source pollution.

Projects are generally identified in watershed plans | Learn More >

Over the years, ADEQ has worked with partners to implement watershed projects to protect nearby streams and lakes, including:

  • Social trail and unpermitted parking closures along Oak Creek Canyon to mitigate E.coli and sediment loadings
  • Creek-side restroom installations to prevent E.coli pollution
  • Grassland restoration to stabilize soils and reduce the transport of sediment and bacteria
  • Bank stabilization and erosion-prevention to restore natural conditions
  • Mine tailings and wasterock stabilization and capping to prevent metal contamination

Management of Nonpoint Source Pollution

States develop five-year plans, which are submitted to the EPA, in order to identify major causes of nonpoint source pollution and develop long-term plans for addressing them. Arizona revisits its Nonpoint Source Five-Year Plan each year, submitting annual progress reports to EPA. Each plan highlights specific projects that manage and mitigate nonpoint source pollution in watersheds.

Five Year Plans

Annual Reports

Past plans and reports are accessible by making a Public Records request | Learn How >

Additional project data and water quality load reductions are viewable through EPA’s Grants Reporting and Tracking System (GRTS) | Learn More >