Date of Award

Spring 1994

Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


The sustainability of North Carolina's coastal resources are threatened from environmental degradation. A decline in water quality has resulted, in part, from a lack of regional consensus on coastal wastewater management. Yet coastal population growth continues without the necessary infrastructure to support domestic wastewater treatment. This paper will attempt to address the feasibility of an ocean outfall in the state of North Carolina by summarizing results of earlier research, drawing expertise from current outfall projects, examining legal and financial obstacles, and evaluating progressive steps toward an integrated planning of coastal wastewater disposal. Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) is one framework through which North Carolina can better plan for and manage its wastes so it can achieve a higher coastal environmental quality. The ICM methodology, proposed by the National Research Council, can enhance the selection and implementation of a wastewater management plan by minimizing human health and environmental risks. But in order to achieve integrated coastal management, the issue of population growth needs to be examined and addressed independently to properly assess its influence on wastewater management.