The application of MST to risk assessment, total maximum daily load (TMDL) assessment or beach monitoring provides a tool for identifying the source of the pollution and allowing for appropriate remediation and preventative measures to be taken.
Fecal pollution can originate from point and non-point sources. Point sources may include sewage, effluent from wastewater treatment plants and stormwater. Nonpoint sources may include leaking septic systems, agriculture or wildlife runoffs where the entry point of contamination to surface waters is not obvious. Nonpoint sources are most apparent after storm events and are the cause of many water system impairments. If it is determined that the major contributor of the fecal pollution of a certain water system is Human, then compromised sewage or septic systems in the area should be the most probable cause. If the major contributor is cattle, then nearby farms should be suspected.