Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rural sanitation in US

More than 160,000 of West Virginia's 900,000 homes may use straight pipes for sewage.

By Pam Kasey
Email | Bio | Other Stories by Pam Kasey

On or about July 5, the state and all its counties are going to be sued.

Those entities are allowing more than 160,000 of the state’s 900,000 homes to discharge raw sewage into streams in violation of the Clean Water Act, according to Atlanta lawyer William “Bo” Gray.

That’s nearly one-fifth of the homes in the state.


Is It Worse in West Virginia?

Jennifer Newland of the nonprofit Canaan Valley Institute, which provides wastewater technical assistance to rural communities, doesn’t believe so.

“If you find any rural, low-income community, they probably don’t have adequate treatment,” she said. She pointed to documentation of similarly pervasive problems in Kentucky, Minnesota and other states.

NESC Director Gerald Iwan, who has worked in Connecticut and New York, doesn’t believe so either.

It’s a problem for disadvantaged counties everywhere, he said.

“It begs the question, in a country as wealthy as we are, why do these problems persist?”


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