Mississippi’s Water Quality 2021 – What’s the Top Water Problems in Major Cities of MS

While Minnesota may take the prize as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Mississippi is no slouch when it comes to freshwater sources. Well over 85,000 miles of streams and rivers crisscross the state.

Lakes and reservoirs round out the abundant surface water supplying the residents and visitors of Mississippi. Once procured from its source, the water is sent on to be treated at one of many municipal water treatment facilities.

Treatment is a two-edged sword in most places. While it does make water safe to drink and use, it can also cause some issues with the taste and smell of the end-product.

With so much water from surface sources that travel distances to reach the taps of Mississippi homes and businesses, hard water is a major issue across the state. Hard water forms when minerals like calcium or magnesium are absorbed. While harmless to consume, hard water can create some issues that can be nuisances.

Common Water Problems by City

Hard water is prevalent in almost every water supply in Mississippi. Each locality treats its water in a way that makes it safe, leading to different common problems depending on the specific area.


Water Source

Common Problems

Typical Symptoms


Coastal Streams Basin

Hard Water

Dry, Itchy Skin


Spotty Glassware


Pascagoula Formation Aquifer

Graham Ferry Formation Aquifer

Hard Water

Chemical Treatment

Dry, Itchy Skin


Poor Smell or Taste


Meridian Upper Wilcox Aquifer

Hard Water

Dry, Itchy Skin



The Coastal Streams Basin is made up of several major waterways that ultimately empty into the Gulf of Mexico. The Wolf, Little and Big Biloxi, and Jourdan Rivers are all part of this area of water.

Jackson sources most of its water from this surface water supply and treats it to ensure its safety prior to sending it on to the many homes and businesses in the area. While the water is made safe to drink and use, it is considered hard water.

Minerals are picked up and absorbed as the water travels through the miles of streams, rivers, and lakes that make up the basin. Hard water is the result of this absorption and can cause some problems around the house or store.

Hard water is a notorious domestic challenge primarily because of its part in creating soap scum. These dingy, white stains on sinks, showers, and other surfaces can be challenging to remove once formed.

Homes using hard water can also experience failing appliances or slow plumbing if limescale is allowed to build up in pipes and supply lines. Hard water also causes dry skin after bathing and, in some cases, a dry, itchy scalp.


With all the surface water flowing across Mississippi, it may surprise you to hear that Gulfport gets its water from and source deep below the surface.

The Pascagoula Formation and Graham Ferry Formation Aquifers supply Gulfport with water for drinking, bathing, and other uses around the home and businesses. Many assume that water under the ground is already safe to drink but wells pulling water from these depths can be prone to contamination just like surface water can.

In order to ensure the safety of the drinking water supply, Gulfport treats its water with chemical and physical methods. Unfortunately, the very chemicals that clean the water can also impart a bad taste and smell.

Hard water is also common in Gulfport, as the water absorbs mineral content as it travels through the surface layers to the aquifer. Hard water can cause problems with poorly performing appliances and also dries the skin when used for bathing.


The Meridian Upper Wilcox Aquifer provides Oxford with almost all of its water supply. Wells reach down to the aquifer and pull water up to treatment facilities where it is cleaned and made safe for use.

The primary complaint about the water supply in Oxford is that it is hard. Hard water is responsible for the formation of limescale and soap scum. If left untreated, limescale can impact the efficiency of certain appliances. Soap scum is notoriously hard to clean and forms when hard water and soap products combine.

Hard water also causes dry skin when used for bathing and can often cause glassware to look spotty even after being washed.