Standard Article

94 Point and NonPoint Source Pollution

Part 8. Water Quality and Biogeochemistry

  1. Keith Loague1,
  2. Dennis L Corwin2

Published Online: 15 APR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470848944.hsa097

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

How to Cite

Loague, K. and Corwin, D. L. 2006. Point and NonPoint Source Pollution. Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. 8:94.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Stanford University, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Stanford, CA, US

  2. 2

    George E. Brown, Jr. Salinity Laboratory, USDA-ARS, Riverside, CA, US

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2006


The information age has ushered in a global awareness of complex environmental problems that do not respect political or physical boundaries: climatic change, ozone layer depletion, deforestation, desertification, and pollution from point and nonpoint sources. Among these global environmental problems, point and nonpoint source pollution represent a perfect example of a complex multidisciplinary problem that exists over multiple scales with tremendous spatial and temporal complexity. A point source of pollution discharges to the environment from an identifiable location, whereas a nonpoint source of pollution enters the environment from a widespread area. The ability to accurately assess present and future point and nonpoint source pollution impacts on ecosystems ranging from local to global scales provides a powerful tool for environmental stewardship and guiding future human activities.


  • modeling;
  • nonpoint source pollution;
  • point source pollution;
  • uncertainty