Our Wastewater Footprint

Water quality on the Gulf of Mexico coast

A first step to water quality improvement

This website was produced in response to stakeholder requests for up-to-date data on how human wastewater affects water quality on the northern Gulf of Mexico coast and to provide tangible recommendations for how members of the local community can help improve water quality.

Data shared on this webpage were initially collected as part of a 4-year study to define how human activities and urbanization (land-use change) have affected water quality in the region, using the Grand Bay estuary and nearby waters on the Mississippi-Alabama coast as a representative system. This information is now being applied in the Mobile Bay and Dog River Watersheds.

This webpage provides:

  1. Our Human Footprint: A summary of water quality problems common to the northern Gulf of Mexico and other coastal waters worldwide
  2. Grand Bay Estuary System: An introduction to the Grand Bay Estuary study site and research outputs.
  3. Mobile Bay- Eastern Mississippi Sound System : An introduction to the Mobile Bay - eastern Mississippi Sound study sites and research outputs.
  4. Alabama Microbial Source Tracking (MST): A compilation of metadata from various source tracking and water quality monitoring efforts in Alabama to facilitate data sharing between our community partners.
  5. What YOU Can Do: Recommendations for actions you can take to improve water quality and where to report concerns
  6. Take It With You: Use our water quality information packet to add value to your eco-tour business, classroom lessons, or public meeting.
  7. Resources: Additional information, including publications and monitoring data for your area.

This webpage is meant to be a living resource for end-users, and we welcome feedback on improvements and additions to our content.  Please email us with your suggestions.

Funding sources

The large-scale multidisciplinary research projects and the transfer of scientific data through the creation of this webpage were funded by the NOAA NERR Science Collaborative (NSC) for work in the Grand Bay Estuary system and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Division for work in the Mobile Bay - eastern Mississippi Sound system.

NOAA National Science Collaborative- Learn more about the core project here: Project Factsheet
USEPA Gulf of Mexico Division- Learn more about the core project: Project Overview & stakeholders meeting 02/03/2022

These projects include data collection and development of educational materials and tools for the public and decision-makers to enhance water quality on the Gulf of Mexico coast. Products are designed to raise awareness of the positive and negative effects of land-use change for the public, community organizations and businesses, and decision-makers within the region. The materials use science-based information to reinforce the importance of reducing sewage and stormwater contamination, improving wastewater management, and implementing land use planning that takes into account its effect on water resources.