Nonpoint Source Unit

Illinois' Nonpoint Source Management Program

Nonpoint Source Pollution (NPS) is the primary factor limiting waters in Illinois from attaining their designated uses. The success of NPS pollution control in Illinois is dependent not only on actions and resources from Illinois EPA and U.S. EPA, but many federal, state, and local partners, including individual urban and rural landowners.

The Illinois NPS Management Program (Program) is a road map for Illinois' NPS pollution control activities, and guides the implementation of the activities and projects supported by Section 319(h) grant funds and other NPS control activities in Illinois. The Program has undergone a significant update which was approved by U.S. EPA in September 2013.

The Program includes a summary of Illinois' water resources, the sources and impacts of NPS pollution, and an outline of Illinois' approach to control NPS pollution to protect and improve those waters. The approach includes recommendations for state-wide and watershed-scale work. The Program also includes: details about; 1) the Section 319 NPS grant program, 2) Federal consistency reviews, 3) implementation of a feedback loop, 4) and the short- and medium-term objectives and milestones needed to accomplish NPS pollution reductions in Illinois.

Illinois EPA Nonpoint Source Unit

The Nonpoint Source Unit (NPS Unit) works to protect rivers, lakes, streams, groundwater and wetlands from pollutants from sources such as urban and construction site runoff, agricultural runoff, hydrologic modification, and resource extraction.

Staff divide their time between program and project administration, technical and financial assistance, education, outreach and development, revisions to the Illinois Water Quality Management Plan, and also spend a good amount of time representing the Illinois EPA and the Bureau of Water on a wide variety of environmental topics.

Staff work with citizens, citizen groups, local, state, and federal organizations (including government agencies) to develop and implement NPS pollution control projects. Projects range from educational programs (storm drain stenciling) to diverse watershed management projects in urban and rural areas (citizen-lead projects for watershed-based planning and implementation of best management practices, or "BMPs", to protect water quality). Financial assistance is administered by the Illinois EPA through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. This has been summarized in the Section 319 Biannual Report. Staff develop financial assistance agreements, process invoices, and conduct product reviews.

Additional Activities Include:

  • Giving presentations, developing displays, and coordinating workdays at a variety of water quality education programs and events. The Unit's Education activities include everything from presenting programs at local schools to hosting three national NPS conferences.
  • Maintaining maps, which delineate "Facility Planning Areas" (the area proposed for service by a community's wastewater treatment plant). Staff are involved in the review of proposed amendments to Facility Planning Areas and participate in public hearings as needed. Staff also administer Areawide Planning Agency contracts funded under Clean Water Act, Section 205(j)/604(b) for the maintenance and implementation of the Illinois Water Quality Management Plan.
  • Representing the Illinois EPA and the Bureau of Water on local, state, and federal committees on a variety of topics including: watershed protection, water quality improvement, NPS pollution control, water quality information and education, National Monitoring Strategies, etc.
  • Operating the Streambank Cleanup And Lakeshore Enhancement (SCALE) program to assist organizations in conducting streambank and lakeshore litter collection events to improve water quality in Illinois. Staff promote and administer the program statewide, make grant payments, and maintain program integrity.

Additional Information

Contact Information

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
Bureau of Water
Watershed Management Section
Nonpoint Source Unit
1021 North Grand Avenue East
P.O. Box 19276
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9276