Because of this, what people do on the surface can have a devastating
effect on the underground environment, including caves and cave-dwelling
animals such as bats.
Unfortunately, people are the primary source of nonpoint source
pollution. A study in Indiana found that "practically all users
of groundwater are also its potential polluters."
What is nonpoint source pollution?
Nonpoint source pollution can come from nearly anywhere, and almost
everywhere. Where non-point source pollution occurs, there is no
one to point fingers at. The polluter could be anyone, or several
When the West Plains sewage lagoon collapsed in the 1970s due to
a sinkhole opening up in the bottom of it, wells were polluted as
far as 30 miles away. That pollution was easily traced to its source.
However, tracing a single source of nonpoint source pollution,
such as that created by a single cow, or one leaking septic system,
is nearly impossible.
What can we do about it?
Education is the key. The more we know, the better choices we can
make. The first step in preventing pollution begins with each of
us, and the decisions we make about the products we buy, use, and
Are you a polluter? Probably.
Can you do something about nonpoint source pollution? Yes!
You can do your part by making better choices, and by making sure
your friends understand the consequences of their choices.