(2/18/05 version) Watershed Restoration & Protection Strategies: Regulated Discharges To Surface Water

The Clean Water Act and associated regulations legally define, as point source discharges, a number of diffuse discharges (e.g. CSOs, Stormwater Phase I and II, AFOs, CAFOs, etc.) to surface water that are often considered "regulated nonpoint sources" by laymen. These discharges, along with more conventional point source discharges such as wastewater treatment plants, are shown as item E in Figure 1 and are normally addressed through a permit. Therefore, management practices to address point source discharges may be necessary if:

  • available surface water quality data indicates that aquatic life use attainment is impaired or threatened; AND
  • high magnitude causes and sources of impairment or threat include regulated point or nonpoint source discharges.

If data suggest that the main causes of impairment are regulated discharges, nonpoint source management practice implementation may not be appropriate. Instead, efforts should be focused on working with the municipalities, industries, and permitting authorities to address the regulated causes of impairment.