What is the difference between point source and non-point source?

A point source, also termed ‘end of pipe’ discharge, is a discharge from a defined, discrete conveyance like an outfall coming off an industrial property.  The US Clean Water Act was enacted to stop point source discharges like sewage and industrial chemicals to our waterways.

Today, non-point source pollution is the primary contributor of pollutants to our waterways.  It comes from a variety of diffuse sources like atmospheric deposition, automotive leaks, and brake pad dust, fertilizer and pesticide use, construction, agriculture, mining and fecal waste.   Pollutants from these sources are picked up by urban run-off and deposited into our surface waters impairing their beneficial uses.

Municipalities are required to educate residents and inspect business in storm water pollution prevention practices.

Show All Answers

1. How do I calculate the Flood Control flow data point? Do I need to know the post development design flows for my project?
2. How do I determine the 25-year 24-hour storm depth
3. What are Pollutants of Concern (POCs)?
4. What are Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs)?
5. What is a Watershed?
6. What is an illicit discharge and who do I call to report it?
7. What is an NOI and what permits does it cover?
8. What is C.3?
9. What is NPDES and who oversees it?
10. What is the design storm for my project?
11. What is the difference between a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) and a Stormwater Control Plan (SWCP)?
12. What is the difference between point source and non-point source?
13. What is the difference between the County Watershed Program and the Contra Costa Clean Water Program?
14. What is the difference between the storm drain system and the sanitary sewer?
15. What is the drainage easement across my property? Can I build on it? What can I do on it?
16. Who do I contact if I have flooding on my street?