IWA Publishing

Surface Runoff

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Surface runoff is the water flow that occurs when soil is infiltrated to full capacity and excess water from rain, snowmelt, or other sources flows over the land. This is a major component of the hydrologic cycle. Runoff that occurs on surfaces before reaching a channel is also called a nonpoint source. If a nonpoint source contains man-made contaminants, the runoff is called nonpoint source pollution. A land area which produces runoff that drains to a common point is called a watershed. When runoff flows along the ground, it can pick up soil contaminants such as petroleum, pesticides (in particular herbicides and insecticides), or fertilizers that become discharge or nonpoint source pollution.

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