"There is a human right for people to live decently, and that means the government has an obligation to provide people with the essentials of life, which include power, water and sewage service," Alston said. "But if the government says, 'oh no, we're not going to do it,' and leaves you to install very expensive septic tanks, that's not how it should work."

    The situation is particularly acute in Black Belt counties like Lowndes, where the annual median household income was just $30,225 and 25.4 percent of residents lived below the poverty line as of the 2010 U.S. Census. According to a UN report published in 2011, the "Alabama Department of Public Health estimates that the number of households in Lowndes County with inadequate or no septic systems range from 40 to 90 per cent; it has reported that 50 per cent of the conventional, on-site septic systems are currently failing or are expected to fail in the future."


    Their house, like those of many of their neighbors, discharges its raw sewage via long, aging "straight pipes" that release the effluent aboveground, where it sits in fetid open-air pools.

That's unreal. If you'd asked me ten minutes ago if anyone outside of some hermits had their sewage released above ground, I'd have said no, nowhere in America does a home have their sewage release on the surface. I guess I knew there was extreme poverty in areas like this, but I never would have guessed basic societal obligations like this go unaddressed.

posted by kleinbl00: 220 days ago