The Utah Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution Program was created in 1990 to address nonpoint source pollution in the state. Nonpoint source pollution occurs when rain or snow runoff picks up pollutants, contaminants, or excess nutrients and enters rivers, streams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater.
The Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and Utah Water Quality Act state that nonpoint source pollution should be addressed through voluntary, incentive-based approaches. The Utah Division of Water Quality (DWQ) awards grants from CWA Section 319 funding and State Nonpoint Source Grants to incentivize landowners to implement nonpoint source pollution projects. Since 1990, DWQ has worked with partners and private landowners to implement nearly 600 nonpoint source projects to improve water quality around the state through this grant funding.
While some nonpoint source pollution projects are localized and small in scale, larger water quality projects undertaken recently around the state are designed to reduce nonpoint source pollution on a watershed scale. The map shows the locations of these watershed-wide efforts and provides a short summary of each project.
Many waterbodies in Utah are listed as impaired on the CWA 303(d) list. Waters are classified as impaired when they do not meet water quality standards based on their designated beneficial uses due to excess pollutants from point and nonpoint source discharges. Utah Division of Water Quality identifies waters that are impaired and calculates the pollution reductions necessary to meet water quality standards through Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plans as approved by the EPA.
Nonpoint source projects can be an effective method for reducing pollution and excess nutrients in impaired waterbodies. In some instances, these projects have resulted in significant improvements in water quality. Some nonpoint source projects have made important contributions to removing waterbodies from the CWA 303(d) list of impaired waters.
DWQ showcases successful projects to highlight effective nonpoint source pollution-reduction methods and share information that can assist other landowners who wish to implement their own nonpoint source projects. Success stories include: