Louisiana's Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution Program

Louisiana's Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution Program is managed by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), and is a collaborative effort that includes many partners. NPS is a type of water pollution that is not generated from a discrete conveyance, such as a discharge pipe, but is generated during rainfall events. NPS pollution is the largest remaining type of water pollution that needs to be addressed within Louisiana and across the nation in order to restore the designated uses to the impaired waterbodies. 

Section 319 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) required that the states develop a NPS Management Plan to reduce and control nonpoint sources of pollution from the various types of landuses that contribute to water quality problems across the United States. Some of these categories can also be defined as point source discharges and may require a storm water permit. Louisiana determined that agriculture, forestry, urban runoff, home sewage systems, sand and gravel mining, construction, and hydromodification all contribute to NPS pollution problems across the state.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), hydromodification is one of the leading sources of impairment in our nation's waters; therefore, USEPA has developed a guidance document providing background information about NPS  pollution and offers a varitey of solutions for reducing NPS pollution resulting from hydromodification activities. The document can be found here, Hydromodification and Habitat Alteration: National Management Measures.The State of Louisiana has applied for and is receiving Section 319 funding to implement both statewide and watershed projects to address NPS pollution. Our goal is to educate the public about NPS pollution and best managment practices (BMPs) that can be implemented to reduce and control this type of pollution. 

NPS Management Plans

Section 319(b)(1) of the CWA requires the Governor of each State to prepare and submit to the Administrator of USEPA a management program which the State proposes to implement for controlling nonpoint sources (NPS) of pollution and improving navigable waters in the State. Section 319 (b)(2) describes basic elements (A-F) of an approvable NPS Management Program, including:

  1. A description of best management practices (BMPs) to be implemented to reduce NPS pollutants from each category identified in the State as contributing to water quality impairment, taking into account potential impacts on ground water;
  2. A description of management programs (including as appropriate, regulatory or non-regulatory) utilized to achieve implementation of BMPs described in paragraph A;
  3. A schedule of milestones to achieve implementation of BMPs and programs described in paragraphs A and B;
  4. A certification by the Attorney General of the State or Chief Legal Counsel of the State Water Pollution Control Agency of adequate authority to implement paragraphs A, B and C of Section 319(b)(2);
  5. A description of federal and other assistance that will be utilized to implement the state’s NPS Management Program other than assistance provided through Section 319(h) of the CWA;
  6. An identification of other Federal Financial Assistance Programs or development projects the State will review for their affect on water quality and consistency with the State’s NPS Management Program.

In compliance with Section 319(b)(2) of the Clean Water Act, the State of Louisiana operates under a 5-year NPS Management Plan approved by USEPA for FFY2023-2027.

LDEQ's Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP) guides activities related to water quality management, pollution control, and planning. The plan was developed in accordance with the CWA §§ 205 (j), 208, and 303(e). LDEQ is authorized to carry out this activity under the Louisiana Envrionmental Quality Act (LA R.S. 30:2001 and 30:2071). The WQMP is comprised of a number of documents, considered volumes of the plan.

Water quality sampling will monitor water quality parameters throughout specified impaired subsegments to support activities described in the LDEQ NPS Managment Plan. The Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) for Nonpoint Source Pollution Program Water Quality Monitoring document outlines how water quality sampling will be conducted on behalf of LDEQ's NPS Program.

Integrated Reports (305(b)/303(d))

Source Water Protection 

The Source Water Assessment Program was required by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 to determine the potential susceptibility of public water supply systems to contamination.  The state's source water assessment plan document was submitted to USEPA in 1999 and the mandated completion date for all assessments was May 6, 2003.  Although the work on the program took place from 2000 - 2003, information obtained during the assessments serves as the foundation for the Drinking Water Protection Program.  Assessments will continue to be conducted for new or expanding water systems.

Education and Outreach

LDEQ's NPS Outreach Program seeks to educate the public on the effect's citizens, of all ages, throughout Louisiana, have on the state's waters. In addition, the program strives to increase the community's involvement in watershed protection activities through awareness and education, while changing mindsets. The long-term objectives are: increase awareness concerning impaired waterbodies in the state; increase awareness about our personal roles living in a watershed and the cumulative effect our day-to-day activities have on water quality; and encourage behaviors that will keep pollutants out of local streams and the ocean.  We want everyone to know they can Be The Solution.

  • Nonpoint Source links
  • The Storm Drain Marking Program is an established method of involving the public and increasing community awareness concerning NPS pollution and the hazards of dumping pollutants  into storm drains. Stormwater that drains into the watershed is a pollution source that is sometimes overlooked; therefore storm drain marking is an effective method to increase community knowledge and understanding as it pertains to NPS pollution.  Storm drain marking is an educational, interactive tool to engage citizens of all ages in community involvement for watershed pollution prevention.  The goal is to dispel the idea that all stormwater is treated before it enters a watershed and to create public awareness in an effort to reduce NPS pollution from entering our local waterbodies. Storm drain marking helps build community and mobilize grass roots environmental protection. The NPS Program can supply organizations with storm drain markers. Please contact Crisalda Adams at crisalda.adams@la.gov.  
  • The Enviroscape Model effectively communicates our shared responsibility for the environment, specifically water quality to people of all ages. The NPS model focuses on problems caused by NPS pollution and how some of those problems can be mitigated. This model has been very effective in engaging young learners, as it creates a real sense of understanding through experience and hands-on demonstration.  By being able to see "pollution" move around in real time and discuss solutions, these complex issues seem simple to anyone who will listen. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many outreach events have been postponed and others cancelled. To continue or commitment to education and outreach, LDEQ-NPS created an Enviroscape Model Video, so that students, anywhere, anytime, are able to learn about NPS pollution, and its effects on our everyday lives. In conjuction with the video, an exam and answer key have been produced to test your knowledge on material learned, and can be viewed below. If you have any questions, please contact India Ambeau at india.ambeau@la.gov.  

Annual Reports

Master Farmer Program

The Louisiana Master Farmer Program focuses on helping agricultural producers voluntarily address environmental concerns as well as helping them enhance the production and resource management skills they need for the continued sustainability of Louisiana agriculture. The program helps producers across a wide range of agricultural and natural resource enterprises by teaching them more about environmental stewardship, conservation-based production techniques and resource management. The program uses a comprehensive approach that includes classroom instruction, observation of LSU AgCenter research-based BMPs and implementation of a comprehensive conservation plan. It also involves a voluntary producer certification process.

Success Stories

The EPA Nonpoint Source Success Stories web site features stories about primarily nonpoint source-impaired waterbodies where restoration efforts have led to documented water quality improvements. Currently, LDEQ-NPS has developed eighteen success stories.

Watershed Implementation Plans

WIPs are developed to describe water quality problems and potential solutions to reduce and/or prevent NPS pollution and restore designated uses (such as contact recreation and fish and wildlife propagation) in a watershed. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) issued guidance to States in 2004 of nine (9) key elements of an acceptable WIP, which is required for utilization of incremental or project funds provided to states through Section 319(h) of the CWA. These nine (9) key elements include:

  1. Identify causes and sources of NPS pollution that will need to be controlled in the watershed to improve water quality and restore designated uses;
  2. Estimate load reductions expected from management measures (BMPs) implemented to reduce NPS pollutants identified in paragraph
  3. Describe NPS management measures (BMPs) necessary to achieve load reductions described in paragraph
  4. Estimate the amount of technical and financial assistance necessary to achieve management measure implementation in the watershed;
  5. Describe the type of educational-outreach activities necessary to reduce NPS pollution and improve water quality in the watershed;
  6. Include a schedule for implementing NPS management measures identified in the WIP;
  7. Describe interim, measurable milestones for determining effectiveness of the WIP in reducing NPS pollution and improving water quality;
  8. Include a set of criteria that can be utilized to determine whether NPS load reductions are being achieved and water quality is being restored (i.e. meeting water quality standards);
  9. Describe the monitoring program that will be utilized to evaluate progress in reducing NPS pollution and improving water quality.

The State of Louisiana developed WIPs to reduce NPS pollution and restore water quality. Our active WIPs are available below.


Highlighted Nonpoint Source Projects


To request a visit to your school please send a request to crisalda.adams@la.gov

For More information visit EPA Region 6 Website