Non-Point Source Pollution Help

This guide is intended to help communities who are working to resolve water quality issues particular to non-point source pollution. This was developed by multiple state agency members and the MSLN team. Please contact us with any questions by visiting our Contact Us page.

Steps to Take

This guide outlines 8 major steps for each community to take. This is by no means exhaustive, and it should be noted there is no guarantee for clam flats to be reopened if a community or group follows all of these steps.

Form a Team

Any effort to resolve non-point source pollution will be long and may span multiple seasons or even years. So, having a group of individuals who are invested and similarly motivated helps to keep the effort moving forward. For example, a team may include representatives from the shellfish committee, local municipal leaders, a member of the MSLN team, and other invested community members.

Gather Information

Before beginning any specific actions, the group should gather as much information as possible. This may include contacting multiple state agency representatives, involving local municipal managers, and research a number of different document types. For a breakdown of information you may be looking for, please see our WQ Information Guide.

Determine Resources

Resources are anything that can be used to a groups advantage, including funding, volunteers, laboratories and others. For funding resources, please see our Community Funding guide and our Maine Shellfish Restoration and Resilience Fund page.

Develop a plan of action

This is the major planning stage. The group should collectively identify areas of interest, or any area that is socially, economically, or culturally important to the group. The group should then follow the next step of understanding how to ascertain more information about the pollution problem, and fix it.

Identify Methodologies

There are so many different ways to find pollution problems out there. The MSLN has started gathering technical briefs, which are documents that identify multiple methods communities have used, and give details such as cost, time, etc. Below, we have outlined potential methodologies in specific areas around mudflats. For more information please see our Technical Support Briefs page.

This graphic highlights where different techniques could be used for different water quality efforts. Please visit the Technical Resource page to find documents highlighting these different techniques.

Collect Data

This stage is where you implement the plan of action. This can include multiple field days, extensive manual labor, or collaboration with various scientific institutions. During this stage, shellfish communities should contact their local DMR representative and keep them up to date during the data collection process. If animals are suspected to be a source of pollution, shellfish communities can refer to this Wildlife Pollution resource guide for additional steps.

Ask the DMR

If remediation work has been taken, DMR can be requested to take additional samples to more quickly replace pre-remediation scores in P90 calculations.  This may decrease the time to reopen or reclassify a harvesting area if the non-point source has been resolved.  Please note, an increased sampling may result in new high scores which may increase closures.  DMR has limited capacity so these requests cannot always be met.