On-site wastewater design challenge held in Lowndes County

Published 7:14 pm Sunday, November 6, 2016

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal
The Lowndes County On-Site Wastewater Design Challenge was held at the Jackson-Steele Community Center in White Hall this past Saturday and Sunday.
Catherine Flowers, executive director of the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise said, “We are excited about this opportunity to come together to search for technology solutions that will ensure equitable access to safe, affordable and adequate water and sanitation not only for low income rural communities” but also “for rural communities at large.”
The event began with a meet and greet on Friday, Nov. 4 at the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton in Montgomery. Then on Saturday design teams signed in and registered at the Jackson Steele Community Center in White Hall where they heard technological challenges and voices from the community. They also visited sites that were representatives of problems.
Sunday included presentations from design teams.
Appearing before the White Hall Town Council last Thursday, Flowers said
she looked forward to working with the council.
She said she had been testifying around the nation regarding wastewater issues in Lowndes County. And she said the results from fecal, soil, water and blood samples reveal the existence or probable illnesses that exist in places where you have raw sewage on the ground and temperatures such as in Lowndes County.
However, she said that did not exist just in Lowndes County, but all over the Southeast.
She said she attended work sessions by the National On-Site Wastewater Recycling Association where it was reported that on-site systems don’t work.
She said, “It doesn’t make sense to spend all this money putting them in and they break down in a few years, and then it’s the responsibility of the homeowners when they break down.”
She said the event held this past weekend featured people from around the nation were coming to see what was being dealt with in Lowndes County and all 50 states.
She said, “If we can find something that works in Lowndes County… and one of the paramaters is that it has to be something that the average person in Lowndes County can afford … it could be used across the country.”
She said the Environmental Protection Agency has put together an intergovernmental working committee of people from throughout the government with the next step to get elected officials involved to see what’s needed.
However, she said, “They have agreed to commit resources to try to solve the problem in Lowndes County,”
She said there will not be one solution, but several solutions.

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