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Nonpoint Source Water Pollution

Nonpoint Source > Watershed Restoration > Promoting Restoration > Local Ordinances Local Ordinances

Elected officials have been granted authority by the public to create laws that dictate behavior to protect the common good and common resources, including natural resources. When other strategies, such as voluntary behavior change or buying up land to control pollution are not available, feasible, or effective, local land use ordinances are tools that can be used to control nonpoint source pollution.

Nonpoint source issues addressed by local ordinance include imperviousness (often expressed as green space percentage requirement), minimum lot size requirements for septic systems use [PDF], and pet waste pick-up requirements. Often, storm water concerns are put into subdivision control [PDF] or zoning ordinances [PDF], in addition to Rule 13-required ordinances [PDF]. However, each county or municipality can decide for themselves how they want to incorporate nonpoint source pollution considerations into their local code.

Example ordinances from Indiana

One example of how nonpoint source has been incorporated into local ordinance in Indiana is in Porter County. As part of their unified development ordinance [PDF], Porter County recently adopted conservation design subdivision regulations requiring 10% open space minimum on all subdivision development, and up to 40% open space requirement on subdivisions in designated sensitive areas.