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

What are beach outfalls?

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

A beach outfall is a conduit for stormwater. They are pipes or drains that discharge municipal or industrial wastewater, stormwater, or sewer overflows into the ocean. Since outfalls are part of the hard infrastructure of our communities, they provide very little treatment of the water, which typically results in high concentrations of nutrients and pathogens near the openings of the outfalls.

In Mississippi, the beach outfalls are located in the three coastal counties: Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson. Overall, there are approximately 200 beach outfalls that drain water from coastal communities into the Mississippi Sound (see Figure 1). There are two types of beach outfalls: open outfalls and closed outfalls. Closed outfalls empty stormwater from U.S. Highway 90 and municipal storm drain systems into the Mississippi Sound using a closed pipe that lies on the beach and is several hundred feet long. Open outfalls drain water from property north of Highway 90 into the Mississippi Sound.


Figure 1: There are approximately 200 beach outfalls across the three coastal counties of Mississippi.


Beach outfalls are not unique to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. They exist in coastal communities all over the United States and the world, including Honolulu, Hawaii, Barcelona, Spain, and Sydney, Australia. Technologies from Beach Outfalls Challenge may have a world-wide impact as we learn about innovative solutions to restore and maintain ecological integrity of coastal waters by improving water quality and reducing sources of degradation.

Registration for the Beach Outfalls Challenge opens January 9, 2017. Learn more about the Beach Outfalls Challenge by visiting the ABOUT Page of this website. CLICK HERE to receive periodic updates with additional details as registration approaches.

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Check out this video to learn more about the beach outfalls along the Mississippi Gulf Coast: