The Salem County Greenkeepers Plan

Sources of Pollution found in the Salem River Watershed

Project
Background
 
The Salem
River
Watershed
Why is this
watershed
important?
Sources of
Pollution
 
Water Quality
Monitoring
Project-Phase I

Point Source Pollution

In the past, water quality improvements have focused on specific identifiable sources of pollution, such as a pipe or a disposal site, sewage discharges, or specific water resources, such as a river segment or wetland.  Technical and regulatory methods have been used to detect and control these problems.

Non-Point Source Pollution

Non-point source pollution (NPS) occurs when water flows over the land or through the ground, picks up pollution and deposits it into rivers, lakes, and estuaries.  Factors such as habitat destruction and polluted runoff consisting of both sediment and nutrients are difficult to identify, isolate, measure, and control. These result from a wide range of activities over an area. Sources of NPS pollution in the Salem River/ Delaware Estuary watershed include runoff from a variety of sources including residential lawn maintenance and garden practices, agricultural run-off, fertilizer practices and livestock management, faulty or poorly maintained septic systems, stream bank erosion and illegal dumping, boating practices, and road salting practices.  Segments of the Salem River in 1998 were characterized by the US EPA as "moderately" to "severely" impaired due to impaired biology, and imbalances in the fecal coliform, pH, temperature, and total Phosphorus measured.   EPA document 841-F-96-004A published the following in its fact sheet on non-point sources of pollution into waterways:

Three Leading Sources of Water Quality Impairment
(data source: Water National Quality Inventory, 1994)

Rank
Rivers
Lakes
Estuaries
1
Agriculture
Agriculture
Urban Run-off
2
Municipal Point Sources
Municipal Point Sources
Municipal Point Sources
3
Stream/habitat changes
Urban runn-off
Agriculture

(Table Source: US EPA)

With 43% of the watershed in agricultural production, and much of that farmland located in the higher elevations, adopting good farm management practices is necessary and ultimately benefits all those who live, work, and recreate in the watershed.

Elevation and Land Use in the Salem River and Delaware Estuary Watersheds

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