Nonpoint source issues

Pollution from nonpoint sources ­— storm sewers, failing septic systems, and runoff from construction sites, animal feedlots, paved surfaces, and lawns — contribute huge quantities of phosphorus, bacteria, sediments, nitrates, and other pollutants to our lakes and streams. Nonpoint sources represent the largest combined threat (an estimated 86%) of the state’s water pollution.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) monitors and regulates a variety of activities that contribute to nonpoint source pollution.

Nonpoint Source Management Program Plan – The United States Congress enacted Section 319 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1987, establishing a national program to control nonpoint sources (NPS) of water pollution. The State of Minnesota Nonpoint Source Management Program Plan (NSMPP) is a requirement for Minnesota to remain eligible to receive NPS grant funds from the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) under Section 319 of the CWA. More information is available on the Nonpoint Source Management Plan page.

Feedlots Program – The MPCA's feedlot program regulates and controls pollution created by animal-production facilities. The size of the facility, number of animals, pollution potential and type of construction all play a part in the degree to which a facility is regulated. Depending on the situation, different types of permits are issued to differing facilities. The program also assists with rule interpretation and education through training and site visits. More information about feedlots is available on the Feedlot Program page.

Stormwater Program – MPCA Storm Water Program was developed to reduce the pollution and damage caused by runoff from construction sites, industrial facilities and municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s). In Phase I of the program, the MPCA issued permits to large construction sites, 11 categories of industrial facilities, and major metropolitan MS4s. Under Phase II, permits will also be issued to small construction sites, small municipalities (populations of less than 100,000) that were temporarily exempted based on their industrial activity, and small MS4s by March 2003. Detailed information is available on the Stormwater Program page.

Septic Systems or Individual Sewage Treatment System Program (ISTS) – The MPCA issues a license to ISTS businesses that design, inspect, install, pump or site evaluate ISTSs. The ISTS program also provides a registration program for ISTS professionals who have completed training, taken an exam and have experience in the ISTS field. The program also focuses on outreach, rule interpretation and education on ISTS through training and site visits. More information is available on the ISTS Program page.