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Nevada Nonpoint Source Pollution (14-NV-a)

The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) developed its initial Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Program and Nonpoint Pollution Assessment Report in 1989 and has since instituted a regulatory and voluntary program to control the impacts of nonpoint source pollution. NDEP uses public awareness, cooperation with other agencies and land owners, and application of Best Management Practices (BMPs) to achieve this goal.


Nonpoint Source Pollution Process

14-NV-a.1– Is the Pollution Source Diffuse

Nevada regulations NAC 445A.309 define “diffuse source” as including:

  • Agricultural activity, including return flows from irrigation;
  • Silvicultural activity;
  • Mining activity;
  • Runoff from construction activities associated with buildings, roads, dams, utility lines or other improvements or facilities;
  • Runoff from roads, streets and railroads;
  • Runoff from construction activities associated with recreational trails or the use of recreational trails;
  • Modification of water courses or stream channels; and
  • Runoff from urban areas.

The above categories apply regardless of whether a wheeled, track, stationary or floating piece of equipment is used for earth moving activity.

14-NV-a.2 – Is the Pollution Source Exempted

Nonpoint source regulations in Nevada do not require any person to remedy, control or correct any nonconformance with standards for water quality which result from exclusively natural, rather than man-made, causes. NAC 445A.313.

NAC 445A.313 also provides that the following activities are also not subject to diffuse source regulation:

  • Home gardening, landscaping, repairs and maintenance;
  • Connection of utility services for single family dwellings;
  • Installation of fences and sign posts;
  • Installation and maintenance along existing roadways of overhead transmission lines for telephones, telegraph and cable television and of electric transmission lines of a design capacity of less than 200 kilovolts; and
  • Emergency work to protect persons or property.

14-NV-a.3 to 14-NV-a.4 – Has Control Been Delegated to the Specific Municipality for Diffuse Source Control

According to NAC 445A.326 through .328, any new diffuse sources of pollution must provide notice to the applicable municipality including the location and nature of the new diffuse source. Notice must be filed at least 30 days before commencing activity and the municipality is required to review the notice within 30 days after its filing. The municipality will advise the person filing whether or not the use or activity is likely to cause pollution from a diffuse source.

If the municipality determines that pollution from a diffuse source is likely, it will either:

  • Municipalities who have commenced administration of their own program will:
    • Give the person a written recommendation of BMPs to apply, or
    • Request the person to submit a written plan of BMPs to accomplish that purpose
  • Municipalities who have not commenced administration of their own program will:
    • Ensure appropriate BMPs are selected from the State Handbook to be applied to the specific activity or use

14-NV-a.5 – Comply with State Handbook of Best Management Practices (BMPs)

The Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution Management Program within the NBWQP is responsible for developing and updating the state Best Management Practices Handbook. Effective BMPs are based on the consideration of all existing site-specific conditions and must be cost effective. Individuals or agencies implementing BMPs should consider including the occurrence and movement of surface and groundwater, geology, soil type, climate, topography and habitat. Also important factors are scheduling, timing and adequate design and application.

BMPs should be designed and developed on a site-specific basis by qualified professionals. The State BMP Manual can be found here: NDEP BMP Guide.

14-NV-a.6 – State and Federal 319(h) Grants May be Available for Implementing BMPs

The Clean Water Act, section 319(h) provides grants to states to implement Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution Management Programs. The ultimate goal of these grants is to improve water quality and a number of these programs may involve public education, technology transfer, or demonstration of innovative best management practices.

Nevada has provided some grant funding to improve conditions of Nevada’s watersheds and protect against nonpoint sources of water pollution such as storm flow from urbanized lands, agricultural fields, and highways. The NDEP 319(h) Nonpoint Source Grant Program provides funds to qualifying counties, conservation districts, higher education institutions, nonprofit organizations, and tribes.

The purpose of the grant program is ultimately to make waters swimmable, fishable, and otherwise fit for other recreational and beneficial uses, including drinking water use. Nonpoint Source Grant Program funds originate from a EPA grant under the Clean Water Act.

NDEP requires most 319(h) Grant Program projects to be completed in 1-3 years. For more information contact the Bureau of Water Quality Planning within NDEP (Birgit Widegren, Supervisor, Nonpoint Source Program 775-687-9550, bwidegren@ndep.nv.gov) .

14-NV-a.7 – Is the Project in a Designated Impairment Area

In cooperation with the United States Geologic Service (USGS), NDEP monitors the waterways throughout the state of Nevada and produces the Nevada Water Quality Assessment 305(b) Report every 2 years. This Report also creates Nevada’s 303(d) list of impaired river segments, lakes, and wetlands. Impaired waters show pollution from both point and nonpoint sources.

14-NV-a.8 – Consult NDEP to Determine TMDLs in Your Project Area

The 303(d) List identifies water bodies that need additional controls to achieve or maintain the required water quality standards. Therefore, Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) are created as a basis for targeting pollution on a watershed based level. TMDLs have currently been set by NDEP on segments in the following locations, if your project is in these areas, consult NDEP for further clarification:

  • Truckee River
  • Carson River
  • Walker River
  • Humboldt River
  • Las Vegas Wash




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Edit Nevada Division of Environmental Protection
Groundwater and Information Services Branch Supervisor
775.687.9422
mnguyen@ndepabbazabbanvabbazabbagov
Visit Website


Edit Nevada Division of Environmental Protection
Branch Supervisor
775.687.9315
bwidegren@ndepabbazabbanvabbazabbagov
Visit Website