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Keep Liberty County Beautiful: What are nonpoint sources of pollution?
Karen Bell
Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Karen Bell.

Our Keep Liberty Beautiful’s Adopt Liberty program is growing each year. We want to thank the groups and individuals that support this program. The Adopt Liberty groups are out on the weekends, cleaning up the community. We had groups go out for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service this past weekend. So far, 45 miles of roadway have been cleaned each quarter. We still have more roads to clean and ponds to clean up in Liberty County.

The ponds at Bryant Commons in Hinesville catch a lot of litter and debris flowing in the pond from city storm drains. It takes volunteers to keep the ponds free of cigarette butts, cups, bottles, cans, fastfood trash and other nasty litter that people toss on our sidewalks and streets and, ultimately, end up traveling down city storm drains. All of these items are part of a problem called nonpoint source pollution. Unfortunately, the most significant danger to our local waterways is these “nonpoint sources” (NPS), which are challenging to control. What are nonpoint sources of pollution? Nonpoint pollution develops mainly in our own homes and backyards, on our roads, in our businesses and even on our farms, and in more heavily populated areas. NPS pollution is caused by rainfall or irrigation moving over and through the ground. As the water runoff moves, it picks up. It carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into creeks, lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and even our underground drinking water sources. It is often called stormwater pollution. Those slight downpours of rain wash the pollution and debris into our groundwater and waterways. These pollutants include:

• Oil, grease and toxic chemicals from urban runoff and energy production • Sediment from improperly managed construction sites, crop and forest lands, and eroding stream banks

• Salt from irrigation practices and acid drainage from abandoned mines

• Bacteria and nutrients from animals, pet waste and faulty septic systems

• And, of course, litter According to the EPA, nonpoint source pollution is the leading remaining cause of water quality problems. Nonpoint pollution is known to have harmful effects on drinking water, wildlife and, as we are now learning, our sport and seafood fisheries. As urbanization continues, nonpoint pollution will only worsen unless we take action to change many of our harmful daily habits and look for proactive ways, like our Adopt Liberty groups, to create positive change.

There are still plenty of ways that you can be involved in creating positive change in Liberty County. You can organize a cleanup in your neighborhood, you can help mark storm drains like the Hinesville Rotary Club, or you can join the Adopt Liberty program. Keep Liberty Beautiful provides cleanup supplies — garbage bags, safety vests, work gloves and even litter reachers — and water for these cleanups or environmental projects.

We appreciate any support volunteers can give. Contact Keep Liberty Beautiful at (912) 880-4888 or email for more information. With your help, we can find ways to keep our Liberty County community a beautiful place to live.

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