Soil Contamination

January 8, 2011
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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.

Learn More

See PHLUSH Sewage Sludge page.


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    Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human, or PHLUSH, is an all-volunteer advocacy group based in Portland's Old Town Chinatown. We collaborate with grassroots organizations, environmental activists, planners, architects, code officials and city managers. We receive support from the Old Town Chinatown Community Association and Neighbors West-Northwest. PHLUSH is a member of the World Toilet Organization and a partner in the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance.

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