The Pensacola Watershed is characterized by gently rolling terrain comprised of sandy soil underlain with lime rock at varying depths. Prior to being drained for urban uses, large portions of the area were natural wetlands with meandering water courses that allowed sediments to "settle out" before reaching open water bodies.
Over the years, one such water course, known as Carpenter Creek, has been rerouted from its natural path to an open channel section. Increased pollutants and sediments from an expansive developed area discharge into Bayou Texar, causing a decrease of water quality there. This condition is also typical of other areas of the city.
Historically, tidal surges during severe storm events reduce discharge flows from outfall pipes by back-filling them with seawater and sediment at the discharge points.
As the city is largely "built out", the land available for stormwater treatment and storage facilities is diminishing while intense urban development is leading to increasing impervious area coverage and stormwater runoff volume.