Water Quality photo identifier

Water Quality Program

Nonpoint Pollution

Under our Clean Water Act responsibilities, we have made a lot of progress to prevent water pollution from "point sources" of pollution, such as municipal and industrial discharge pipes. We are now addressing a more difficult, pervasive and more diffuse pollution problem – "nonpoint" pollution.

Nonpoint pollution is runoff from our streets, forest lands, farms, and other sources. When it rains, nonpoint runoff carries toxic chemicals, nutrients and bacteria into our downstream waters. It also happens when streamside vegetation is disturbed, leading to increased water temperatures and unstable stream banks.

Taken together, these nonpoint sources of pollution can contribute to shellfish closures, impair salmon habitat, contaminate drinking water, and contribute to toxic chemicals in our food chain.

Eliminating nonpoint sources of pollution is our greatest challenge to restore the health of Washington's waters.

Success Story

Washington - Kitsap County Pollution Identification and Correction (PIC) Program Improves Water Quality


small photo of forest of treesStreet, farm, and forest land runoff represents the largest water quality challenge.



small photo of stormwater outfallThe Nonpoint Plan provides the foundation for the state to address nonpoint pollution.



small photo of a marina on Puget SoundWe're actively providing tools to prevent nonpoint pollution.



sign says clean up after your petsImproving water quality requires each of us to get involved and take action.