Nonpoint Source

As part of the Watershed Protection Program of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ), Water Quality Division (WQD), the Wyoming Nonpoint Source Program works through voluntary and incentive methods to preserve and restore the quality of Wyoming’s surface and ground water resources.  To do this, the Nonpoint Source Program relies on voluntary implementation of nonpoint source pollution reduction projects by individual landowners, local groups, and other state, local, and federal government agencies in a cooperative effort to address water quality improvements on a watershed scale.

Nonpoint source pollution is caused by surface water runoff that is diffuse in nature and often widespread, making it difficult to assess the source of the problem. It is different from point source pollution, which can be traced back to a single defined source.

How Nonpoint Source Pollution Occurs

Nonpoint source pollution occurs when runoff from rainfall or snowmelt travels over and/or infiltrates through the ground and picks up contaminants. These contaminants are deposited into streams, lakes, rivers, and ground water.

Nonpoint source pollution is generally associated with human land-disturbing activities such as: 

  • Urban development
  • Construction
  • Agriculture
  • Recreation
  • Silviculture
  • Mineral exploration

Common Contaminants

Common nonpoint source contaminants include the following:

  • Fertilizers and pesticides from agricultural and residential activity
  • Oil, grease, and toxic chemicals from urban runoff
  • Sediment from construction activity or stream bank erosion
  • Bacteria and nutrients from livestock and pet waste, or from failing septic systems