University of Florida

Sources of Pollution: Nutrients

Nutrients provide nourishment for plants and animals in the same way that food and water provide nourishment for people. Nutrients help living things to grow. While normal amounts of nutrients make plants grow at normal rates, too many nutrients and can cause excessive plant growth. This can result explosive algal blooms and reduced availability of oxygen – ultimately harming wildlife and vegetation.  

Examples of nutrients include nitrogen and phosphorus. Sources of these nutrients include the following:

  • lawns fertilizers,
  • decaying lawn debris such as grass clippings and leaves,
  • detergents,
  • sewage or septic tank runoff,
  • animal wastes,
  • industrial wastes.

What UF is Doing

What You Can Do


algae bloom caused by nutrients entering the water