Master of Science (MS)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



Watershed planning is an important ongoing process for enabling communities to repair polluted waterways and ensuring the health and vitality of waterways for future generations. This study defines a process to spatially track pollution sources entering into our waterways. An essential tool used in the watershed planning process is geographic information systems. It is important to gather spatial information to illustrate where all potential pollution sources are located within each watershed. The data for this study were assembled into a database and mapped to locate pollution sources including: commercial/small business wastewater treatment plants; subdivisions without community wastewater treatment; and individual home sewer treatment systems within the Bogue Falaya River and Abita River watersheds located in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Water quality monitoring data, collected by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, were also mapped and analyzed to identify correlations between fecal coliform, turbidity, and specific conductance to pollution source locations and densities. The Bogue Falaya River and Abita River watersheds were further delineated into six sub-watersheds. Land use percentages for the study area were calculated using tools in ArcMap. Community wastewater treatment plants, sewered vs. unsewered subdivisions, and home treatment systems were identified and mapped for each sub-watershed using ArcMap. Water quality correlations were produced using non-parametric statistical tests, including the Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient, and the Kruskal–Wallis one-way analysis of variance. A Kernel density layer was created using ArcMap’s Spatial Analysis tool for the commercial wastewater treatment plants and the individual home systems. Results showed poorest water quality and the densest pollution sources occurred in the most urban areas of the watersheds (the southernmost portions of the study area). An important finding identified to reduce pollution sources within the Bogue Falaya and Abita Rivers is the large-scale regionalization of wastewater treatment facilities. This study provides a comprehensive approach to locating, characterizing, and spatially assessing sources of water quality impairment for a watershed-based management planning process and will be referenced by future watershed protection plans written for the Pontchartrain Basin.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Leitner, Michael