The Beach Outfalls Challenge is a public prize competition sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). MORE


Frequently Asked Questions about the Beach Outfalls Challenge

What are beach outfalls?

Beach outfalls provide an important storm water function to communities as they drain storm water to minimize flooding. Along the Mississippi coast, approximately 200 beach outfalls drain water from coastal communities into the Mississippi Sound. They act as conduits only, so they provide very little treatment of the water.

Two types of beach outfalls are found along the Mississippi coast. Closed outfalls drain water from Highway 90 out into the Mississippi Sound using a closed pipe that is several hundred yards long. Open outfalls drain water from property north of Highway 90 into the Mississippi Sound.

What is the current water quality of the outflows?

The water quality of the outflows varies greatly along the MS Gulf Coast.  However, here is a compilation of the water quality data produced in 2013 for multiple beach monitoring sites in Gulfport, MS.  Reminder:  Your Design Submission must state any assumptions or extrapolations made from this data.

MDEQ Beach Water Quality Data

Is there any information available showing the elevation profiles of the beach and the beach outfall network?

The link below contains a typical beach design template used in Harrison County, MS. The outfalls are usually installed at 0.00% grade.

Typical Beach Section – Harrison County

What is the goal of the Beach Outfalls Challenge?

The goal of the Beach Outfalls Challenge is to enhance Mississippi’s ability to restore and maintain ecological integrity of priority bays and estuaries by providing measurable improvements to water quality and reducing significant sources of degradation.

Who may enter the Beach Outfalls Challenge?

Any individual or team may enter as long as no individual or member of the team is an employee of MDEQ or an entity contracted to support the Challenge, members of those employees’ immediate families, or persons living in the same household as those employees, whether or not related.

The Beach Outfalls Challenge is open to companies, educational institutions and individuals, willing and able to meet the performance criteria established in the Beach Outfalls Challenge Rules document. To be eligible to compete and claim a prize, an applicant must be a Registered Competitor and must otherwise comply with all the terms of the Team Agreement.

What is the timeline for the Beach Outfalls Challenge?

Registration for the Beach Outfalls Challenge is scheduled to open in January 2017. Finalists will be announced in April and the winners will be identified in June.

What is the problem with the existing beach outfalls along the Mississippi coast?

Because the outfalls serve as a quick conduit only, they do not provide an ecosystem service delivery function so nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and ammonia do not have time to be absorbed by organic matter before reaching the Mississippi Sound. This results in significantly higher levels of these nutrients in the water near the end of the outfalls. These high levels of nutrients are not compatible with a healthy ecosystem that supports marine life, such as oyster beds and fish.

May a team or individual submit more than one entry?

A team or individual may submit one solution for each category (in-stream or on-beach) as described in the Rules.

What source does MDEQ use for rainfall data?

MDEQ obtains rainfall data from NOAA.  In order to keep the Design Submissions as comparable as possible, please use one of the following links.  We have noted the appropriate station to choose on each.

Choose “GULFPORT NAVAL CTR (22-3671)” and scroll down to see precipitation data in either tabular or graphic format.

Choose “Search Tool.” For “Select Weather Observation Type/Dataset,” choose “Precipitation Hourly.” Select a Date Range (We suggest using a two-year timeframe; please be sure to note what timeframe you chose in your assumptions.).   Select “Stations” and then enter “ COOP:223666 Gulfport-Biloxi Airport” as a Search Term.  You will have to “Add to Cart” and then checkout (even though cost is free).