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Agricultural Runoff

Agricultural Runoff

Agricultural runoff occurs when water from the farms enters water bodies or evaporates. This water can exist due to irrigation, rainfall, or melting snow. Usually, the water may contain harmful substances such as pesticides and metals that contaminate the water bodies. It can also contain sediment in the form of soil particles and nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium. As a non-point source of pollution, agricultural runoff can be challenging to locate and control (Washington State Department of Ecology, 2020).

Prevention strategies

Farmers have the primary responsibility of reducing or preventing agricultural runoff. First, they can limit livestock’s access to waterways. Livestock access to waterways promotes pollution of the water that passes through the drainages when it rains or when the ice melts. Nitrogen and phosphorus are found in the animal’s waste. Therefore, when they defecate in the waterways, it is likely that the water will be polluted. This leads to the second strategy, which is the management of manure/waste. The farmers should avoid storing manure on wetlands, near drainages, or possible waterways. This reduces the pollutants that are likely to be found in water that passes through a farm. Additionally, the farmers can also cover the manure piles to ensure that water does not seep through.

Finally, it is essential to plant native crops and trees along the edge of the river. These absorb the nutrients from the water and assist in reducing pollutants, but they also reduce the amount of water that enters the water bodies. In addition, the plants also create a barrier between livestock and the water bodies and significantly reduce the likelihood of pollution (EPA, 2005).


EPA. (2005). Protecting Water Quality from Agricultural Runoff.

Washington State Department of Ecology. (2020). Agricultural runoff. Retrieved from Department of Ecology Washington:


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Agricultural Runoff

Agricultural Runoff

Farmers use fertilizers to improve crop growth, which can impact the environment through agricultural runoff. What is agricultural runoff? Provide two examples of how farmers can prevent it.

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