Identification and evaluation of potential impacts of onsite wastewater treatment systems in decentralized communities within the Jourdan River watershed

Author(s): Rainey, B.; Gude, V.; Truax, D.; Martin, j.

Assessment of water and wastewater quality is crucial to safeguard public health and the environment. However, water quality data on fresh and marine waters in the Mississippi coastal region, especially in the Jourdan River watershed, are still sparse and uncoordinated. Therefore, monitoring these parameters is important for the assessment of the environmental and public health impacts on these water bodies. This research is concerned with the water quality of tributaries in the Jourdan River watershed that could be potentially impacted by wastewater discharges from onsite treatment systems in the surrounding small communities. The tributaries monitored during this study (Orphan Creek, Bayou Bacon, and Bayou La Terre) are not currently monitored by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), but feed directly into the Jourdan River. Seven small communities surrounding these tributaries were identified to evaluate any possible contribution to the water quality impairment in the Jourdan River. Eight sampling locations were selected to evaluate these water quality parameters at upstream and downstream points of these communities. The water quality parameters being monitored during the study were defined on the basis of total maximum daily load (TMDL) reports for monitored waters in the watershed and common nutrient contaminants present in wastewater effluent. Current wastewater treatment and management practices and their impacts on these receiving water bodies were assessed for the representative communities. This presentation will discuss the preliminary evaluation of the water quality parameters and a present perspective on the local water quality issues of the watershed.

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