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Nonpoint source pollution (NPS) is the technical term for polluted runoff. It occurs when water flowing over the land picks up an array of contaminants, which find their way into our waterways, either directly or through storm drain collection systems. The term nonpoint is used to distinguish this type of pollution from point source pollution, which comes from specific sources such as sewage treatment plants or industrial facilities. The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that NPS is the single largest cause of the deterioration of our nation's water quality. NPS water pollution in your town, and perhaps in your own backyard, can result in anything from weed-choked ponds to fish kills to closed shellfish beds to contaminated drinking water. Polluted runoff is largely the result of the way we develop, use and maintain our land. The policies associated with land use are largely decided at the local level, through the actions of local decision-making officials like planning and zoning commissions. There are many techniques and regulations that can greatly reduce the effects of polluted runoff. SC NEMO is a program designed to educate these local decision-makers about their possible options.

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