Nonpoint Source Program (CWA Section 319)

Nonpoint Source Program (319) Management and Financial Assistance


Financial Assistance: 319 Grants

Maryland uses federal grants made available by the Federal Clean Water Act Section 319(h) to help fund for State nonpoint source management and to provide grants for nonpoint source control by State and local projects that help eliminate water quality impairments caused by nonpoint sources.  More information is available on MDE’s 319(h) Grant Program web page. A 319 Grant may be used to leverage other fund sources including Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund (leaving MDE Website) or other existing capital programs financed through the Water Quality Finance Program.

Please direct questions or comments concerning Maryland's 319 Program to at (410) 537-3818.​​


What is Nonpoint Source Pollution?

Nonpoint Source Pollution (NPS), unlike pollution from industrial and sewage treatment discharge pipes, comes from many diffuse sources. This type of pollution is called nonpoint source pollution because it does not come from a single outlet, waste pipe, or "point" source.  NPS is caused when water from rainfall or snowmelt moves over and through the ground.  During this movement, the water picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants.  Eventually, this water, with the pollutants it carries, reaches lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters, and even our underground sources of drinking water.

Nonpoint Source Pollution is one of the major contributors to degradation of Maryland’s waterways and the violation of water quality standards.  The kinds of pollutants associated with nonpoint sources are diverse and potentially include:

  • Fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides from agricultural lands and residential areas;
  • Oil, grease, and chemicals from urban runoff.
  • Sediment from construction sites, croplands and forestlands, and eroding streambanks;
  • Acid drainage from abandoned mines;
  • Bacteria and nutrients from livestock, pet wastes, and septic systems;
  • Atmospheric deposition and hydromodification are also sources of nonpoint source pollution. 

Managing Nonpoint Source Pollution

Maryland's nonpoint source pollution problems are as diverse as its landscape.  In response, the State’s strategy is to pursue a wide array of nonpoint source pollution control programs that are aimed at combating these varied pollution sources.  The goals, initiatives and partnerships that make up this strategy are described in Maryland's 2015 - 2019 Nonpoint Source Management Plan (PDF).

NPS Implementation Funding - Priority Watersheds  for the 319(h) Grant (A-I Watershed Plans)A prerequisite for §319(h) funding of implementation projects (any project involving in-the-ground construction) is EPA acceptance of a watershed plan. See MDE’s 319(h) Grant Program web page for EPA Accepted Watershed Plans. 

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Contact Us

Please direct questions or comments concerning Maryland's 319 Program to at (410) 537-3818.​​

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