Environmental Protection Agency Chief Administrator Michael Regan traveled to Lowndes County, Alabama, on Saturday afternoon to inspect homes in the county that lack waste disposal systems and access. at the water.
Regan described the situation in Lowndes County as an “environmental injustice” and said the funds and resources available through the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 would help improve county sanitation conditions.
“We meet local communities here who are really facing serious situations in terms of raw sewage and lack of water infrastructure,” Regan said in a video posted on Twitter Saturday morning. “We want to provide solutions, but we want those solutions to be real solutions, which is why we are here on the ground with communities to hear their needs and concerns.”
Faulty septic systems in homes and lack of access to sewage disposal infrastructure remained a constant and toxic problem in Lowndes County.
Due to the nature of Alabama’s Black Belt soil, specialized septic systems are required to properly dispose of sewage from single-family homes, costing residents thousands more than standard septic systems. For those who cannot afford the specialized pits, residents sometimes use conventional and often inefficient septic tanks that fail in the densely packed limestone soil, or opt for a “straight pipe” disposal system that releases waste above ground and creates waste lagoons near residences. that expose occupants to raw human waste.
A 2017 report from Baylor College of Medicine concluded that hookworm infection, commonly seen in resource-limited areas of Africa, China and Latin America, is common among poor populations in the black belt and directly linked to poor sanitation and waste disposal systems. in some communities and residences.