Homeowners who cannot afford to repair a septic system
Low-income citizens in rural areas are unable to afford costly septic-tank repairs. There are insufficient funding options that support septic-tank maintenance. Policy revision renders older septic systems out of code, triggering fines that compound the financial burden. Newer policies often do not allow alternative systems (e.g. dry toilets, etc.) that are less expensive. Climate change is raising groundwater tables rendering more septic systems unusable.
Some communities in rural areas rely on malfunctioning septic systems. It is estimated that 22 million Americans use septic systems that are not functioning properly. Communities that are already marginalized due to income, indigeneity, or race feel the impacts of these broken systems disproportionately.
Houses with septic systems usually also have groundwater wells for household drinking water. When septic systems fail, local drinking water can become contaminated. Drinking water contaminated with feces can lead to a myriad of health problems such as Hookworm or previously eradicated Tropical diseases. Drinking water contamination from urine will leach nitrates, which has been linked to reproductive issues and birth defects. Climate change is also causing rising groundwater tables, threatening previously working septic systems unusable.
Systems are breaking due to age, lack of maintenance, or water table rise. Low-income citizens are unable to afford costly septic-tank repairs, and there is insufficient local funding for septic-tank maintenance. Policy revision renders older septic systems out of code, and newer policies often do not allow alternative systems (e.g. dry toilets, etc.). Already marginalized families are being cited or fined for these broken septic systems which further exacerbates the problem.
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