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Pollutants: Point & Non-point Sources (Lynette Seigley, DNR)

What are Iowa's biggest water pollution problems? Dive into these expert answers from Lynette Seigley.


A point source pollution is a specific point you can identify by pointing at exactly where the source of pollution is coming from. A non-point source is a source where you can't identify a single source; there are multiple sources contributing to the pollution problem. In the U.S., most of the point-source pollution issues have been addressed. In 1972, the U.S. legislature passed the Clean Water Act, which addressed the point source problem, so that industries that are discharging -- wastewater treatment plants that are discharging -- now are required to have a permit that documents exactly what is being discharged and limits the pollutants that can be introduced into water bodies. In terms of water quality issues that remain in Iowa, non-point source pollution is by far the biggest water quality problem that we still have in Iowa.

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Explore More: Water Quality
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