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 stormwater pollution prevention practices.