Water pollution is when harmful substances enter surface and groundwater. Water pollution can be divided into two main types-point source pollution and nonpoint source pollution (NPS). Point source pollution is a direct source of pollution such as a discharge pipe that you can actually point to, while nonpoint source pollution is the small amounts of pollution that result from the daily activities of people and animals on the land. Nonpoint source pollution sources include improperly working septic systems; overuse of pesticides and fertilizers; pet, agricultural and wildlife waste; gas and oil leaks or spills from automobiles, underground storage tanks, etc.; household chemicals; and soil erosion.

How You Can Help

Test your well water each year. See URI Home*A*Syst “Safe Well Water Tip Sheets” – “Are You A Smart Well Owner” for a detailed list of what to test for and when.
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Evaluate and identify your family’s land use activities that could be contributing to water pollution. Take easy action steps to reduce your family’s pollution. Learn about each type of pollution mentioned above in our next sections and make changes to be a responsible steward of our drinking water.

Where To Learn More

“Questions and Answers about Nonpoint Source Pollution”
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“Nonpoint Source Pollution”
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“Environmental Information for Rhode Island”
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Did You Know?

Over 60% of Rhode Island Residents get their water from the Scituate Reservoir.

40% of all lakes and streams are too polluted to use for fishing or swimming in the United States. It is important to do our part to protect water quality in Rhode Island. 

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Scituate Reservoir Watershed Education Program -- Funded by Providence Water Supply Board
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