According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the amount of sewage carried by America’s sewage pipes, some of which are 200 years old, is capable of filling all the Great Lakes every four months. “Laid end to end, the pipes that carry raw sewage from America’s homes, businesses, institutions, and industries would stretch to the moon and back — twice.” The problem is that pipes break, leak, and get overloaded. Restoring waterborne sewage infrastructure has never been on the top of citizens’ and policy makers’ agendas. We just don’t like to think about the mix of poo, pee, industrial, toxic substances,and endocrine disruptors that fill our sewers.
In addition, to pipe breakdown, septic tanks infuse sewage into the soil and eventually into groundwater. The most significant threat today is the deliberate spreading of sewage sludge on agricultural lands.
Clean water is an issue of concern and a high priority in public policy. The relationship of sewage on land to water quality, however, is still not very strong in most people’s minds.
See PHLUSH Sewage Sludge page.