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Glossary » N

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Unit of measure for the turbidity or cloudiness of water as measured by a nephelometer. Turbidity is based on the amount of light that is reflected off particles in the water.


A product of the natural metabolism of plant and animal matter, and fertilizer runoff. Organic nitrogen can take many forms in water, including Nitrate, Nitrite, and Ammonia. When available, these nutrients promote plant and algae growth. Ammonia concentrations below 0.3 mg/L significantly limit plant and algae populations.


Diffuse pollution caused by sediment, nutrients, organic and toxic substances originating from land-use activities, which are carried to lakes and streams by surface runoff. Non-point source pollution is contamination that occurs when rainwater, or irrigation washes off golf courses, fields, streets, or backyards. As this runoff moves across the land surface, it picks up soil particles and pollutants, such as nutrients and pesticides.