Wastewater grant a big win (again) for Lowndes residents

Published 1:03 pm Friday, July 8, 2022

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(An Editorial Opinion of The Lowndes Signal)

If you know what is right and just, you should never give up in pursuit, and that is what we saw last week in our reporting of a $2.1 million USDA grant to the Black Belt Unincorporated Wastewater Program to continue installation of septic tanks for Lowndes County residents.

A project that was delayed because of political reasons, is now back on track thanks to the monumental efforts of Perman Hardy and Sherry Bradley, director of the state bureau of Environmental Services with the Alabama Department of Public Health. Hardy formerly served on the Lowndes County sewer board before being removed in July 2021. She has been vocal about residents’ needs for proper wastewater disposal, even after her removal from the sewer board.

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Hardy and Bradley raised the 25% matching funds for the grant, but when Hardy was removed from the board, the grant was rescinded. Now the grant is back on track, and Lowndes County residents will be the beneficiaries.

The grant will be used to install about 75 more septic tanks in Lowndes County, helping to alleviate a public health hazard caused by non-functioning septic tanks, or by residents discharging raw sewage from their homes into cesspools on their property.

While 75 septic tanks is indeed great news, the BBUWP has more than 200 applications; so much more is needed to help Lowndes residents solve this very real health and safety issue. Right now, one of the biggest hurdles is getting residents to properly and fully complete the applications.

Bradley said the next step in the process is to hold a training session where residents can get help completing the applications. We are hopeful residents who need help will attend the session and get their names on the list to get this problem fixed.

Kudos to Hardy and Bradley for not giving up, which they could have easily done when the grant was rescinded, but they kept fighting and now it looks like Lowndes residents will be the recipients of their efforts.