Blackbelt Unincorporated Wastewater Project fights septic crisis in Lowndes County
Published 1:13 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2023
The Blackbelt Unincorporated Wastewater Project (BBUWP) unveiled the site of their new management office in Hayneville on Sep. 11. The office will serve as a location to manage the onsite systems BBUWP has installed, as well as a training facility, a location for board meetings, and more.
Sherry Bradley, Environmental Advisor for BBUWP, spoke about the project and how BBUWP is working to help Lowndes County homeowners address wastewater disposal issues. .
“The program was created because there was no one in the area installing quality septic tank systems,” Bradley said. “We got involved and we applied for a grant to install at least 100 systems, but the number will be more than that. This program is different than any other because BBUWP maintains the systems. All homeowners have to do is give us a call and we will come out and service the system we installed.”
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Lowndes County has been waging an ongoing battle with the need for proper septic systems, as many homes in the county are equipped with straight-pipe systems which expose residents to raw sewage.
As opposed to traditional septic installations which can cost tens of thousands of dollars, each homeowner who receives a septic system through the project will pay a one time down payment of either $500 or $100 depending on the type of soil at their home and $20 monthly for maintenance of the system.
Sabic, a company who manufactures wastwater projects and is also in the pursuit of creating solutions for straight-pipe systems, partnered with BBUWP to aid Bradley in making Lowndes County a cleaner, healthier place to live.
Darrell Bollier, site manager for the project, said Sabic had an interest in BBUWP and reached out to offer financial assistant to the project to help see it to fruition.
“We reached out as a company to Sherry Bradley when we found out she was trying to run a program,” Bollier said. “It culminated into us giving a pretty significant donation- $250,000 this year and another $250,000 next year- and so with the money that Sabic has invested Sherry has been able to purchase a building and a vehicle. It’s awesome.”
Perman Hardy, president of BBUWP, said this project has been a journey with a fight for this cause spanning over many years. She expressed pride as she discussed the partnership with Sabic.
“Whatever we do, it’s about the people,” Hardy said. “They are the ones that need the help. We are just serving. It’s been a great partnership with Sabic. Local homeowners are grateful for the help, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Residents who are in need of assistance with replacing their septic systems can reach BBUWP by phone at 334-239-7710 or by email at BBUWP@yahoo.com.