Nonpoint Source Program (319) Management and Financial Assistance

NEW - Request for 2019 Proposals

MDE has released an RFP for projects eligible for 319(h) grant funding. The RFP can be downloaded on the 319(h) Grant Program web page​.​

Maryland's 319 Nonpoint Source Program 2016 Annual Report and Report Appendices

Maryland's §319(h) Program Project Story Maps (leaving MDE) 

Big Laurel Run Success Story

Aaron Run Success Story: Mitigating Acid Mine Drainage Improves pH Levels

Maryland's 2015-2019 Nonpoint Source Management Plan (2016 Update)


Financial Assistance: 319 Grants

Maryland uses federal grants made available by the Federal Clean Water Act Section 319(h) to help fund for State nonpoint source management and to provide grants for nonpoint source control by State and local projects that help eliminate water quality impairments caused by nonpoint sources.  More information is available on MDE’s 319(h) Grant Program web page. A 319 Grant may be used to leverage other fund sources including Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund (leaving MDE Website) or other existing capital programs financed through the Water Quality Finance Program.

If you have questions, contact Eric Ruby at 410-537-3685 or

What is Nonpoint Source Pollution?

Nonpoint Source Pollution (NPS), unlike pollution from industrial and sewage treatment discharge pipes, comes from many diffuse sources. This type of pollution is called nonpoint source pollution because it does not come from a single outlet, waste pipe, or "point" source.  NPS is caused when water from rainfall or snowmelt moves over and through the ground.  During this movement, the water picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants.  Eventually, this water, with the pollutants it carries, reaches lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters, and even our underground sources of drinking water.


Nonpoint Source Pollution is one of the major contributors to degradation of Maryland’s waterways and the violation of water quality standards.  The kinds of pollutants associated with nonpoint sources are diverse and potentially include:

  • Fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides from agricultural lands and residential areas;
  • Oil, grease, and chemicals from urban runoff.
  • Sediment from construction sites, croplands and forestlands, and eroding streambanks;
  • Acid drainage from abandoned mines;
  • Bacteria and nutrients from livestock, pet wastes, and septic systems;
  • Atmospheric deposition and hydromodification are also sources of nonpoint source pollution.

Managing Nonpoint Source Pollution


Maryland's nonpoint source pollution problems are as diverse as its landscape.  In response, the State’s strategy is to pursue a wide array of nonpoint source pollution control programs that are aimed at combating these varied pollution sources.  The goals, initiatives and partnerships that make up this strategy are described in Maryland's 2015 - 2019 Nonpoint Source Management Plan (PDF).


NPS Implementation Funding - Priority Watersheds  for the 319(h) Grant (A-I Watershed Plans)A prerequisite for §319(h) funding of implementation projects (any project involving in-the-ground construction) is EPA acceptance of a watershed plan. See MDE’s 319(h) Grant Program web page for EPA Accepted Watershed Plans.


Success Stories


Nonpoint Source Pollution: A Youth Perspective


Understanding nonpoint source (NPS) water pollution begins with gaining background on the basics of water resources.  For high school students, this can include the water cycle, the amount of freshwater and saltwater on earth, and whether that is surface water or groundwater.  Kids can also learn about natural water quality, including color, clarity, salinity (conductivity), pH, hardness (minerals) as context for learning about NPS pollution. 


The presentation (PDF), developed by Baltimore YouthWorks (leaving MDE Website) student Koree Pompey, highlights these background issues and the topic of nonpoint source water pollution. It provides a great starting point for other students seeking to learn more about water resources and NPS pollution.


Contact Us

Eric Ruby
1800 Washington Blvd. Suite 540
Baltimore MD 21230
Telephone: 410-537-3685


Other Useful Links