|Water Quality Assessments are technical reviews of physical/chemical, bacteriological, biological, and/or toxicological data and information to determine the quality of the state's surface water resources. Monitoring data are compared to the "State of Mississippi Water Quality Criteria for Intrastate, Interstate, and Coastal Waters" in order to make decisions on whether a water body is supporting or not supporting its designated uses such as aquatic life support, water contact recreation, fish/shellfish consumption, and drinking water. |
Assessments answer questions like:
Is a water body safe for swimming?
Can I eat the fish out of this stream/ lake/ estuary?
Can fish and other aquatic life live safely and reproduce in this water body?
If a water body is determined to be not supporting one of its uses, then the water body is considered impaired. The causes and sources of the impairment are then determined. These waters are subject to further monitoring and are listed on the state’s Impaired Waters List. The EPA has national guidance on assessing and listing impaired waters. This guidance is known as the Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology (CALM). To learn more about CALM, click here to view EPA’s CALM website.