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What Is Nutrient Pollution

Nutrient PollutionNutrient Pollution is a form of water pollution. This type of pollution refers to the excessive nutrients in the water. It is a primary cause of eutrophication of surface waters, in which excess nutrients, usually nitrogen or phosphorus, stimulate algal growth. This is one of Florida's most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems. When too much nitrogen and phosphorus enters a body of water - usually from a wide range of human activities - the water can become polluted. Nutrient pollution has impacted many streams, rivers, lakes, bays and coastal waters for the past several decades. This results in an array of serious environmental and human health issues.

What's So Bad About Nutrients

Too many nutrients in the water can cause algae to grow much faster than the ecosystem can handle. Some algal blooms are harmful to humans because they produce elevated toxins and bacterial growth that can make humans sick if they come into contact with the nutrient-polluted water. You can get sick from eating tainted fish or shellfish or drinking contaminated water. Nutrient pollution in groundwater can be harmful, even at low levels. Infants are vulnerable to a nitrogen-based compound called nitrates in drinking water.

Where Does Nutrient Pollution Come From

  • Agriculture: Animal manure, excess fertilizer applied to crops and fields
  • Stormwater: When it rains, the water runs across hard surfaces such as rooftops, sidewalks, and roads - and carries pollutants, including nitrogen and phosphorus, into local waterways.
  • Wastewater: Your cities water utility treats large amounts of water. The systems they use do not always operate properly or remove enough nitrogen and phosphorus before discharging into waterways.
  • Communities: Yard Fertilizers and pet waste, and certain soaps and detergents contain nitrogen and phosphorus, and can contribute to nutrient pollution if not properly used or disposed of properly.

What Can I Do

We can all take action to reduce nutrient pollution through the choices we make around the house. Everyone can access resources online to find out more about the health of their local waterways and participate in their community’s efforts to make their environment healthier and safer.

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