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Management Program for Nonpoint Source Water Pollution

Cleanup and prevention of water pollution from urban and other nonagricultural nonpoint sources (runoff).

The Nonpoint Source Management Program plans and implements activities designed to prevent or abate urban and other nonagricultural nonpoint source pollution in Texas waters.

What Is Nonpoint Source Pollution?

Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution results when small amounts of contaminants from a large number of sources are carried by rainfall runoff into streams, lakes, or bays. For example, pollutants may be washed off lawns, construction areas, farms, or highways during a heavy rain and carried to a nearby creek.

Nonpoint source pollution is difficult to control because it comes from the everyday activities of many different people, such as fertilizing a lawn, using a pesticide, or constructing a road or building.

In contrast, pollution from point sources comes in large amounts from a single source, such as an industrial operation or a wastewater treatment plant. Pollution from most point sources is controlled through regulations that require treatment of a facility’s wastewater before it is discharged into a nearby lake or stream.

Pollution can alter the integrity of water in one or more ways: chemical, physical, biological, or radiological. Impairment occurs when the rate at which pollutant materials entering water bodies or groundwater exceeds their natural capacity to assimilate them.

The large number of nonpoint sources and the fact that they are difficult to regulate make the voluntary efforts of citizens, businesses, service organizations, and other groups an essential part of the effort to address NPS pollution in Texas.

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The Watershed Approach

Protecting our water resources from the impacts of nonpoint source pollution is a complex challenge. Texas uses a watershed approach as its water quality management strategy to protect and restore water quality on a watershed basis. A watershed is the total geographic area that drains storm water (and pollutants) to a particular stream, lake, aquifer, or other water body. The watershed approach examines and addresses water quality concerns in each water body in the context of its watershed and all the potential sources of pollution the watershed contains.

The watershed approach operates under four principles:

        • Diverse, well integrated partnerships
        • A specific geographic focus(watershed)
        • Action driven by environmental objectives and by strong science and data
        • Coordinated priority setting and integrated solutions

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2012 Management Program

The Management Program describes the programs and practices that the state uses to manage nonpoint source pollution in Texas.

The Management Program is jointly developed by the TCEQ and the TSSWCB.

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The 2017 Texas Nonpoint Source Management Program is available for public viewing but has not yet been approved. It has already incorporated comments from a stakeholder review in September, 2016 and from public comments through June 12, 2017. These comments and TCEQ's responses to comments are contained in Appendix F of the document.

Once the document is approved by both the TCEQ commissioners and TSSWCB board members, it will be submitted to the Texas Governor and EPA for their approval.

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Public Education Resources

        • TCEQ NPS Education Materials
        • The EPA's Nonpoint Source Outreach Toolbox Exit the TCEQis intended for use by any organization interested in educating the public about pollution from runoff. The Toolbox contains:
          1. A robust search feature Exit the TCEQ to help you find the most applicable TV, radio or print materials in the Toolbox's product catalog to meet your specific nonpoint source/stormwater outreach needs
          2. Many materials—TV, radio, and print ads—on various nonpoint source and stormwater topics of concern
        • EPA's SepticSmart: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched “SepticSmart,” a new program encouraging homeowners to take steps to maintain their home septic systems, preventing costly repairs and pollution to local waterways. This national program also provides tools and materials for local and regional outreach programs. Projects funded by the TCEQ Nonpoint Source Program to provide homeowner outreach and training in regard to On-Site Sewage Facilities will be expected to make full use of these resources. For more information, visit SepticSmart.

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BMP Finder

The Draft BMP Finder is a supplement to the Best Management Practices (BMPs) section of the Management Program. The BMP Finder provides cross-references to standard terms, descriptions, technical guidance, and implementation considerations for NPS BMPs.

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For More Information

To find out more about the NPS Program, call 512-239-6682 or e-mail us at

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