Our Story

Why is Onsite Wastewater an Issue?

The Black Belt region of Alabama is traditionally defined as a set of 17 counties arcing through the south central part of the State. Eleven of these counties have high concentrations of clay soil including Lowndes County. Large portions of Lowndes County are rural, unincorporated, and unconnected to municipal utilities for the household supply of water and wastewater disposal.

Clay soil, also known as Blackland or Black Prairie soil is virtually nonabsorbent, causing standard onsite wastewater septic system performance most problematic. Homeowners living in unincorporated sections of Lowndes County rely solely on septic systems to dispose of household wastewater.

With high and persistent poverty levels, low income homeowners cannot afford the cost of a specially engineered system that will work in clay soil, which has generated the dangerous practice of straight piping. The practice of straight piping releases household untreated wastewater (sewage) above ground, giving way to third-world living conditions.

Understanding the negative community health impact, LCUWP was created to increase the accessibility of proper onsite wastewater disposal resources.  Phase One of the project consist of serving 100 homes, Phase Two is based on funding and will serve those in need beyond the pilot. 

Through our program partners and the generosity of our donors, LCUWP supplies and installs new onsite wastewater systems specially engineered for clay soil conditions. LCUWP also provides educational outreach, as well as new system monitoring and maintenance for the benefit of low income homeowners living with failing and nonexistent wastewater systems.

LCUWP has a growing waiting list and have received more than 200 applicants for this program.

Video developed by Katie Tindol, Magdalene Kennedy, and Nick Stellon from the University of Alabama.

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